Ben Robinson is one of Below Deck’s most seasoned veteran’s working as the chef onboard deck. Originally from Oxford, England, Ben has been the chef on Yachts for the past ten years. Check out our interview with Ben below as we discuss his thoughts on this and previous seasons, his relationship with Kate, and whether or not him and Emily are still together.
Below Deck airs Tuesdays at 9 PM on Bravo!
Do you have a favorite place that you’ve visited since you get to travel around a lot?
I was part of the Mediterranean Season One, and I really loved Greece. I loved Naxos where we were based, and Mykonos and Santorini were just incredible. It just had a lot of old world charm, and it was just really exciting actually. I didn’t think I was capable of a culture shock, but in fact, I was!
How did Below Deck Mediterranean compare to other seasons you’ve done on Below Deck in the past?
I mean, locationally it couldn’t be more different to these Caribbean islands than the Bahamas. We were in an ancient city thousands and thousands of years old in Naxos, Greece. For me, I’ve done the Caribbean and the Bahamas. I’ve been to many, many of their islands and going there for many years. I’d like to say, and no insult to the Caribbean or the Bahamas, but once you’ve been on their islands, you’ve kind of seen all of them.
Visually they’re very similar. Obviously, the Bahamas is very flat, and you have that azure blue water, but the Caribbean is a little more volcanic, so there are higher hills, and the landscape’s a bit different, but essentially it’s all very similar. There’s not a lot of culture going on there.
If Below Deck Mediterranean did another season, would you want to join that?
How different are Captain Lee and Captain Mark in your opinion?
I would like to say that I feel that Captain Mark is more of an old-school captain, and he expects all of the departments just to run by themselves, and he doesn’t get involved with micromanaging departments. He just expects it to be run properly and smoothly.
Whereas I feel Captain Lee, he has a little bit more of a modern take on being a captain and he likes to involve himself in many departments on the boat, which may be better for television.
You’ve been back on every season of Below Deck, so what brings you back year after year?
That’s an excellent question. It’s great being part of a bigger thing. It’s just a real feast for the imagination and the eyes being part of a televised series on a yacht. It’s way more exciting. There is a production crew and all the rest that comes with it, to be a part of that. I’ve developed many friendships with it on the other side within production, and we have a lot of fun with it, you know? It’s also a fantastic challenge, and obviously, financially it’s not too bad either!
Do you have a favorite meal you’ve cooked while on this current season of Below Deck?
I’ve been pleased with my food, and when it does make the big screen, it’s obviously nice for me. I get to see some of my past dishes. I wouldn’t say any of them stand out too much. Unfortunately, there’s not really a core focus on the food, although there are definitely dramatic points that go around the food and the service, but I’m always fortunate to have some of my better-looking dishes make the big screen. I can’t really think of any that come to mind. I’m very creative, so I seldom repeat myself. I’m always looking for new, exciting ideas or really just working with what I have, being creative. Nothing comes to mind, to be honest.
You made the 12-course tasting dinner with Sierra this season.
Yeah, so obviously I was proud of that. It was a tough evening. I do think the food was definitely a success. I’m my biggest critic. We could always improve. There’s just so many variables when you cook, and there’s always room for improvement. You never walk away and say, “That was absolutely perfect,” and if you do, you’re probably not doing yourself much of a service, to be honest.
How was it cooking that meal with Sierra?
Sierra was very nervous for many reasons. She was very difficult to work with, and no discredit to her as a person, but I don’t think she was quite ready for the Below Deck experience, nor do I think she was ready to be in the kitchen with me for a 12-course dinner.
Before you got on this season, did you know that Kate was returning to Below Deck?
I mean, yeah. That was a pretty obvious one, right? (laughs) I would imagine. I feel like Kate, Lee, and I are integral parts of this series of Below Deck, and that was definitely no surprise there.
Do you still keep up with her today? How’s your relationship been?
Kate and I have our ups and downs, you know? Essentially we’re very good friends, and we’ll always be there for each other. I saw her very recently in Melbourne Beach, and as I said, I’m cruising up to Melbourne Beach now. I may see her or I may not.
On the episode we just watched, you went out on a date with Emily. Do you two still keep up with each other?
Ben: Yeah, I do. I’m just about to pick her up right now actually. We’re going to actually do the job together.
Oh, wow! Awesome!
Yeah, I’m picking her up in Juno Beach right now. Then we’ll be cruising up the coast all the way to Melbourne. We’re staying at the client’s little beach house. It should be really nice.
Our site is called Talk Nerdy With Us, so what do you nerd out about?
(laughs) I was captain of chess at school, in two schools. I was excellent at science, so yeah, I’m a bit of a nerd. Cooking is pretty nerdy when you get into the chemical semantics of it. I’m a molecular gastronomist. I’m also a holistic nutritionist, so I love the science. I love how food reacts to the body. I definitely nerd out about all facets of food.