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Below Deck Med’s Captain Sandy Defends the Chef Refusing to Wake Up

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Below Deck Meds Captain Sandy Defends the Chef When He Refuses to Wake Up at Night to Make Food

(l-r) Captain Sandy Yawn, Johnathan Shillingford
Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

Captain Sandy Yawn surprised some Below Deck Mediterranean cast members when she sided with Chef Johnathan Shillingford after he wouldn’t wake up to make food for guests late at night.

During the season 9 premiere on Monday, June 3, the interior team was already dealing with major obstacles when their provisioner left them without alcohol and other important items. Chief stew Aesha Scott attempted to make do without while dealing with her team, Elena Dubaich and Bri Muller, who both had a lot to learn.

The first night of their charter, Aesha left Elena in charge, and by midnight, the guests were asking for snacks such as grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, nachos and chips with guacamole. Elena attempted to ask Johnathan for help despite him being fast asleep in his cabin.

“I have to wake up the chef. It is too much food that they are ordering,” Elena said in a confessional. “I’m sorry, Chef, they have ordered food. It’s just too much food for me to make. They want a bunch of stuff. I will help you, we can do it together.”

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Johnathan, however, wasn’t interested in getting up. “I don’t think so,” he told Elena without even making an attempt to wake up and assist in the kitchen.

As a result, Elena tried to figure out a way to make the guests happy on her own.

“The boats I worked on previously — I’ve never really made food for drunk people. I feel overwhelmed, I need help,” she noted before thinking of a plan. “I can just make them grilled cheese and tell them this is what we have.”

Elena subsequently told the guests they only had grilled cheese on the menu, but they didn’t approve and kept asking for a substantial amount of snacks. Deckhand Gael Cameron even attempted to lend a hand by making the sandwiches while Elena made the drinks. But Elena realized it was too much for her to handle and she returned to Johnathan’s cabin.

“I’m going to try to get the chef up one more time,” she explained. “It is not my responsibility to cook meals for the guests. Not only am I not able to provide cocktails for the guests, but I am also looking like I can’t manage guests. Jono’s selfish behavior is making me look bad.”

Johnathan was confused by Elena coming back to ask for him to cook again. Elena, for her part, pointed out that Johnathan would look bad if her food was disappointing for the guests.

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“Look, the only reason I came back is because this is going to be a problem. I don’t want you to do this to yourself because of something silly like that,” she said. “They want this food and it is going to be a big issue.”

In response, Johnathan fired back: “What are you talking about? I’m not doing anything. I haven’t slept enough. They can have grilled cheese sandwiches. You said you could do that.”

Johnathan elaborated on his frustrations in a confessional. “I hate being woken up. I hate it,” he told the cameras while making it clear to Elena that he wouldn’t be getting up. “Bitch, are you stupid? This won’t be a good experience for you.”

Since the chef refused to assist her, the episode ended with Elena heading back to the kitchen to try to make food on her own again, adding, “It’s turning into a big problem. I just wanted to give you a chance to reconsider because I don’t want this whole experience for you to become negative because of this. Just think about it.”

The trailer for next week’s episode showed Sandy reacting to the drama. “Never wake the chef,” the captain announced during a team meeting, which visibly upset Elena.

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In another clip, the stew looked visibly upset. “I bust my ass and it all became about waking up the chef,” Elena said through tears. Johnathan also reacted to the issues between him and Elena while on a phone call with someone, saying, “This bitch is going to drive me crazy.”

Sandy has been a Below Deck staple since she joined the Mediterranean iteration in 2017. The first (and only) female captain in the franchise also made History when she briefly crossed over to the OG series, stepping in to help Captain Lee Rosbach in 2023.

Ahead of the season 9 premiere, Sandy opened up to Us Weekly about her approach as a leader.

“It’s about giving people opportunities to change. How do you know if people want to change? You give them the opportunity to show you that they’re going to change,” she explained in December 2023 about her support for past costars. “Why would they change if no one gives them the opportunity? Of course I would give them all the opportunity to show me that they will change.”

She added: “Every season comes with its surprises. Listen, imagine working and living together with the same. It’s not easy. So I give them a lot of credit for the staying power in the middle of it all.”

Below Deck Mediterranean season 9 airs on Bravo Mondays at 9 p.m. ET. New episodes stream the next day on Peacock.

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