The Truth About Below Deck Chef Rachel Hargrove

Below Deck is returning for an eighth season, bringing with it a new crew of lovable, drama-generating young things to entertain us. There's at least one familiar face returning to the fold, while the legendary Kate Chastain sadly won't be coming back. Still, Captain Lee will be keeping everyone in check, so there's no reason to worry about the new season, which will tackle, among other things, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the featured charter.

As ET (who shared the first teaser trailer) noted, season 8 promises "stripping guests, some tone-deaf passengers, a little naked sushi eating and a Below Deck first: Captain Lee seemingly ending a guest's charter early due to their bad behavior," as well as the usual accidents, dismissals, and boatmances. Of the new cast-members, chef Rachel Hargrove is one of the most notable additions. She might not be the first female chef in the show's history (that honor goes, unfortunately, to Mila Kolomeitseva), but Hargrove is a major get regardless. 

The Michelin-starred chef is a leader in her field

As ET confirms, she has an impressive track record as a chef, with five Michelin stars and over 14 years of experience in the yachting industry. The Tampa native originally studied at the Culinary Institute of America, subsequently completing an apprenticeship at the Michelin-starred restaurant Quatro Passi, in Nerano, Italy, according to her Bravo profile. The talented chef is dedicated to her work and reportedly has a no-nonsense attitude, making her new colleagues concerned about how quickly she might lose her cool if things start to boil over.

However, Hargrove can apparently handle anything. In fact, "she is unphased by almost any charter guest preference sheet." Her Instagram account, which has a modest following at the time of writing (likely because the show hasn't aired yet), is impressively loaded with photos of delicious-looking food and Hargrove's travel adventures, rather than too many selfies and promotional material.

Hargrove comes highly recommended by two Below Deck stars

Hargrove comes highly recommended by Below Deck icons Chastain and Captain Lee. The stud of the sea remarked, during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live, "She is probably the best, most knowledgeable chef I have ever worked with on a yacht." Former chief stew Chastain, meanwhile, knows her from way back. They used to work together, as she revealed during an Instagram Live session with WALT Wines

Chastain actually first watched Below Deck with Hargrove, revealing, "Rachel ... knew the chief stew from season 1. They did not get along. So I said, 'Rachel, I'm gonna take her job.' So basically that's the reason I ended up on Below Deck because I'm such a good friend." She promised fans are going to "love" Hargrove, describing her as "hilarious" and "extremely talented." In fact, the former chief stew admitted, "Ben [Robinson] called me today. And I love Ben. But I think Rachel may give Ben a run for his money."