‘Below Deck Med’ Chef Says the Job Is Far More Intense Than What Viewers See (Exclusive)

by Jeremy Spirogis
Anastasia Surmava from

Anastasia Surmava from Below Deck Mediterranean says that the stress and strain superyacht cooks face is way extra excessive than what viewers could notice.

Anastasia Surmava from 'Below Deck Mediterranean'
Anastasia Surmava |Greg Endries/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank

Surmava started as a 3rd stew throughout season four and was promoted to the chef place after chef Mila Kolomeitseva was fired. She rose to the event, delivering spectacular fare from out of the gate. However, she nonetheless struggled, dogged by damaged gear and inexperience as a superyacht chef.

She finally instructed Captain Sandy Yawn that she needed to step down from the place as a result of she was so anxiety-ridden. Viewers at the moment are seeing chef Hindrigo “Kiko” Lorran trip an identical wave. Although he nailed the six-course meal, he fumbled the next charters. Yawn fired him although, like Surmava, he’s clearly a proficient and artistic chef. So why is cooking on a superyacht a lot more durable than working in a restaurant or being a personal chef on land?

Superyacht cooks are a one-person division

“The huge thing is you don’t have a team,” Surmava instructed Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “You’re completely by yourself and you don’t have your bussers and dishwashers and your pastry chef. You don’t have any support, really. On the bigger yachts, you may have a sous chef and a crew chef. But generally, you don’t.”

“So you’re everything, you’re it,” she continued. “It’s really stressful and you have to be so organized and so good with time management. I think a lot of people watch the show and were like, ‘How come you just couldn’t get it out hot or on time?’”

RELATED: ‘Below Deck Med’: Could Chef Kiko Be Getting Fired?

“But oh my God, you are one person trying to cook everything to the correct temperature and then you’ve got to keep it hot,” she mentioned. “And then you have to plate it to this high-end status. All that takes a lot of time. And then you’re thinking, ‘I still have my desserts to think about, I have this to think about it.’ It’s a lot.”

Superyacht cooks work as much as 18 hours a day

“I think it’s hard for people to grasp how much work it is for one person,” she mentioned. “That on top of working 16 to 18 hours every day. By the end, you’re just a broken human being.”

Chef Adam Glick, who just lately appeared on Below Deck Sailing Yacht and Below Deck Med, introduced he formally retired from being a yacht chef. Surmava says the common superyacht chef profession is between two to 6 years. “Six years is really pushing it,” she added.

RELATED: ‘Below Deck Med’: Anastasia Surmava Isn’t the Only Stew Captain Sandy Inspired to Be a Yacht Chef

The job goes far past the meals. “Your galley needs to be spotless,” she remarked. “Because if a guest walks in, there is a standard. You must clean your stainless steel every day. Multiple times a day. Your fridges need to be wiped. You have to keep that place spotless because heaven forbid a guest walks in and your kitchen is a mess. It’s still a show, you’re still displaying. You gotta keep it superyacht standard.”

Superyacht cooks should be prepared for something to occur

Surmava and chef Ben Robinson, who took over for her, handled damaged range burners. They each needed to improvise through the constitution and discover methods across the damaged gear. Viewers puzzled why the engineer didn’t merely repair the damaged gear.

“On the show, we have back to back charters, it’s crazy,” Surmava mentioned. “So the engineer doesn’t have time to completely pull your stovetop apart.”

While all cooks should assume on their toes, superyacht cooks have much more challenges. “I don’t think viewers really understand the amount of planning and execution that actually has to go into it,” she mentioned. “You are dealing with so many food allergies and this and that. I’ve had people who were like, ‘I don’t eat this and this.’ I’ll put [the food] down and they’re like, ‘Actually, can I try that?’ I’m like ‘You literally told me you were allergic to tomatoes!’”

RELATED: ‘Below Deck Med’: Is Chef Ben Finished With the Show?

“You have to be such an adaptable person with so many tricks up your sleeve,” she mentioned. “And you have to be really well rounded. You have to be able to do pastries and you have to do appetizers. And we don’t want to be repeating dishes either. In a restaurant, you’re going to be on a line and you’re going to either be on the fish or you’re going to be on fried [station] or whatever it is. But as a yacht chef, if you want to be good, you can’t be putting out the same dishes all the time.”

Training and expertise matter

“If you want to work on a superyacht, you have to have done some sort of culinary school,” Surmava insisted. “It’s going to really help you beef up your tool pack and your skillset that you can easily fall back on.”

But she says even an informed chef shouldn’t go from little to no expertise to commanding the kitchen on a superyacht. “It all comes down to experience,” she mentioned. “If you have been working in a fine dining, Michelin star restaurant for the last five years, you could probably start on a 30- to 50-meter yacht. But if you are line cook or just a home cook like me, it’s better to start on a 40- or 70-foot sailing yacht or catamaran for a season or two. Get that kind of experience under your belt.”

RELATED: ‘Below Deck Med’: Captain Sandy Would Love to See More Yacht Chefs Apply for the Show

“Experience in this actual field is probably the best way to gain confidence on bigger boats,” she mentioned. For the report, Surmava thinks Kolomeitseva really attended Le Cordon Bleu. But, “[just] because you go to culinary school, doesn’t mean you are going to be a great chef,” she mentioned. “A great chef starts in your heart.”

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