Kate Chastain Reveals She Has Rare Condition

Kate Chastain

Bravo Kate Chastain

Kate Chastain quickly became a fan favorite on “Below Deck” and viewers were sad to see the outspoken Bravo star leave the franchise after season 7. The chief stew was a constant figure on the show since “Below Deck’s” 2nd season and was a successful crew and cast member.

However, since her departure, Chastain has continued to share her opinion on the show and the yachting industry on the spin-off series “Galley Talk.” She also recently appeared on “Below Deck Mediterranean” star Malia White’s new podcast, “Total Ship Show,” where she opened up about a rare condition she has, anosmia, which is the lack of a sense of smell.

The topic came up near the end of the podcast when White spoke about a gross moment on the first boat she worked on when one of the toilets overflowed. “There was s*** everywhere like all over the shower, everything and the captain’s like, here’s a [vacuum],” she shared, and said how disgusting it was to have to clean up. Chastain agreed that on a yacht, there’s no one to call and the crew has to do everything themselves.

Chastain then said a similar thing happened on her first boat then said, “I was born without a sense of smell… [and] I already told them this. So there I was, on a stool in the engineer’s cabin with a radio telling them when the s*** water was going down, ‘It’s starting to go down!’”

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Chastain Described Her Anosmia & Said She Was Born With It But Didn’t Realize Until She Was 14

After Chastain brought up her condition, White interjected and asked if it was true that Chastain doesn’t have a sense of smell and the chief stew confirmed it, then said she isn’t sure if she has a sense of taste. “I don’t really know, you know,” she added. “I think I have a very deviated septum, but I might get the surgery. But if do the surgery, I have to do a documentary. So it’s like I’m an infant at this stage. Like what is happening on my face?”

She also told Malia that she can’t smell at all but didn’t find out until she was 14 years old. “I just thought everybody else was very dramatic,” she added. “That’s probably why I got so far in yachting, to be honest. You know, it’s a skill.” She said the condition is called anosmia.

White asked Chastain if she’d like to be able to smell if the surgery is possible and the former “Below Deck” star said she isn’t sure. “Honestly, I know it would be amazing and then I would feel bad for myself before this,” she explained. Then she said it might also negatively affect her life: What if I hate my dog? What if I gain 500 pounds? My life is good,” she laughed.

Congenital Anosmia Is a Rare Condition With No Treatment or Cure

According to the NIH’s Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center, congenital anosmia is a rare condition “in which people are born with a lifelong inability to smell.” The center states in most cases, the exact cause of the condition is unknown but “Scientists suspect that the condition is due to abnormal development of the olfactory system (the sensory system used for sense of smell) prior to birth.” It adds:

This may include abnormalities of the nasal cavity; disruptions in the pathway that carries information from the nose to the brain; or malformations of the portion of the brain that processes sense of smell.

As Chastain mentioned, a deviated septum is listed as a possible cause and surgery might be able to partially treat her anosmia but the center website indicates that “there is no cure or treatment.” Congenital anosmia affects approximately 1 in 10,000 people, the center reports.

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