Captain Lee Rosbach from Below Deck recently shared how seriously lucrative it is to be a professional yacht chef.
He opened up on Twitter about tipping and money in yachting, sharing that a chef like Ben Robinson could make anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000 per month. Like most positions in yachting, salary (and likely tips) are based on the size of the vessel and the experience of the chef. Yacht chef salaries can range from as low as $36,000 to $80,000 per year, according to Crew Finders.
While chefs can make serious bank, the job comes with just as much stress. Below Deck viewers have seen the anxiety coming from just about every chef on the show as they are tasked with feeding everyone on the boat, including the crew. Rosbach said he tries to give the chef a break on crew food when possible.
“Sometimes when we’re on the dock we will order in to cut him or her some slack,” Rosbach shared. “And sometimes it’s nice to eat local comfort food. Win, win.”
The job has big financial rewards but high stress
Robinson has openly shared that yacht chefs are under a considerable level of stress. “It’s the hardest job there is,” Robinson admitted in the Below Deck Med After Show. “Because you are on your own and you are in charge of provisioning, budgeting, It’s a tiny little space, you have no help.”
“I’m not attributing the failures of the other two chefs either,” Robinson said about the two chefs who worked before him during season 4. “A good chef will be able to rise above it. But it’s tough. It’s a tough gig.”
Third stew Anastasia Surmava was promoted to the chef position after the first chef was fired. She managed to bang out a few charters but eventually became so overwhelmed she told Captain Sandy Yawn she couldn’t handle the job any longer.
Robinson says yacht chef work is brutal. “Since Below Deck, I can safely say I haven’t worked that hard. I don’t think it’s possible for a human to work that hard since I worked about 20 hours a day for six weeks straight,” he told Bravo’s The Daily Dish. “I was obviously a little scared as well at the same time. Can I handle it? I knew I could mentally handle it, but physically — am I physically able?”
Yachties in every position can make bank
Colin Macy-O’Toole from Below Deck Mediterranean wishes he went into yachting immediately after he graduated from college. “I’d probably start right out of college at age 22 and then put in about five years of work on yachts,” he told Showbiz Cheat Sheet in 2019. “Depending on where you live, you could even save enough money to buy a house.”
Financially savvy crew members can save s significant portion of their loot and manage to only work a few months out of the year too. “Of course I’m very frugal and live a pretty minimalist lifestyle,” Rhylee Gerber from Below Deck said. “But I was able to stretch the two months I worked on My Seanna on Below Deck, plus about 60 days working in Alaska.”
Plus, all of the crew’s expenses are covered. “If I wanted $60 face cream, it would be paid for,” Gerber said. Rosbach backed up Gerber’s claim sharing that crew members have no expenses. “We pay for everything but their underwear. What they are left with is pre tax disposable income. In theory, they could bak 90% of that,” he tweeted.
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