Kate Chastain‘s departure from Below Deck was a “bittersweet thing” for Captain Lee Rosbach. Kate, who joined the show in 2014, served as Captain Lee’s chief stew for six seasons before announcing her exit at the end of February. In an exclusive interview with HollywoodLife, Lee revealed that he was shocked when he received a call from Kate telling him that she wouldn’t be back. But, he knew it was time for her to go.
“That was out of left field. I did not see that coming at all. I was totally blown away,” Lee said during HollywoodLife’s TV Talk social media show on April 20. “Kate called me and it was a bittersweet thing. She let me know that she wasn’t going to come back, but she thought it was time to move on,” he continued, explaining, “She’s got bigger and better things to do and I was happy for her. But, I was sad in the same breath because she’s a valued member of my team and she’s a valued member of ‘Below Deck’ and the show, so, big shoes to fill for somebody, or try to do it, yeah. I miss Kate.”
Now, Lee is looking for his next Kate 2.0 to join his crew. “I’m looking for somebody that has that work ethic [like Kate’s], that has the proper attitude towards sub-ordinance. Someone who isn’t on a power trip,” Lee described of what he’s looking for in his next chief stew. “Quick witted, can think on their feet and [someone] that I don’t have to babysit. Here’s your job, here’s your tools, now go get your job done. If you keep coming to me for every little thing. And if I have to do my job and your job then I obviously don’t need you, so I’m looking for somebody who can stand on their own and function well,” he said, noting that Kate didn’t offer any recommendations for her replacement.
The Below Deck veteran also reminisced about their relationship, and recalled a time when they didn’t get along at all.
“Kate and I didn’t hit it off on season 2. We didn’t hit it off at all,” Lee admitted. “We had some rough spots, but you have to give it a chance to mature and grow, and the rest is history.”
Many fans are still holding out hope that Kate will make a triumphant, surprise return to Below Deck. As for Captain Lee’s thoughts?
“I really couldn’t say. I think she’s grown past that, I really do. As much as I would love her to come back,” he admitted, before explaining that Kate can sometimes be a wild card. “But who knows, maybe we’ll see her in some form or another. I really don’t know. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve been surprised,” he said.
Nonetheless, Lee says he’d definitely work with Kate again. “Of course! There’s no reason I wouldn’t,” he said. But, Lee hopes fans will be open-minded after Kate’s departure. “They need to give somebody else a shot before they make up their mind. That’s only fair, I think,” he admitted.
Kate shocked fans when she revealed she was leaving Below Deck in a post on Instagram on February 20. Her announcement came after Bravo aired a reunion show for the Below Deck cast.
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, I have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new land-based role,” she wrote. “I intend to step back as a senior member of the Below Deck Family and work to become financially independent while continuing to fully support His Majesty Andy Cohen.”