EXCLUSIVE: Below Deck’s Captain Lee Gets Candid On Season Lows, Rocky Dakota & Chef Leon Frustrations
“Stud of the Sea” Captain Lee Rosbach of Bravo’s reality series, Below Deck has become imbedded in our hearts and minds with his gallant style, bold leadership, and endearing character.
Bravo’s beloved captain is always ready to answer the call of the Caribbean or the Mediterranean and has a long and distinguished career spanning over 20-years as a yachtie.
In an exclusive interview with All About the Tea, Capt Lee candidly reveals the highs and very lows of the season, drama surrounding Rocky Dakota, his disappointment in Chef Leon, his ‘stud of the sea’ status and much more! Read our interview below.
How did you become involved with “Below Deck?”
Capt Lee: It was purely by accident. I was the Captain on the yacht that Bravo had chartered and I was only there to observe and look out for my owner’s interest. Due to some insurance restrictions that came up, Bravo was unable to use the Captain that they had casted in the role of Captain. As time was getting short I was approached to step in a very minimal role. Production approached my owner about how I might feel about being on TV and he, of course said, ‘Lee feels just fine about being on TV.’ Of course he didn’t want to lose the charter, so when they asked me how I felt, I also replied that I felt indeed just fine about appearing on TV. So it was just a coincidence that I ended up in that position.
You managed a unique crew this season. Did you come close to giving anyone the boot and why?
Capt Lee: Well, some people did indeed leave before the season was complete. Don (Deckhand/2nd Engineer) left on his own as he was unhappy with his work assignments and thought he was being slighted, so it just wasn’t a good fit for him. Dane (replacement Deckhand) had some serious social issues, his drinking and complete unwillingness to get along with the rest of the crew, and his total entitlement attitude and insubordination was more than enough to dismiss for cause.
Chef Leon, was a different story altogether. He had it set in his mind that he was not going to do any more or any less than the bare minimum to get by. He really didn’t seem to like most of the crew, felt that the guests were a pain in his side, and went out of his way to not get along with his chief stew Kate. By his own admission he took pleasure in making his former employees cry, by yelling and screaming at them. Not the sort of working atmosphere we need in close quarters. So I gave him the opportunity to finish out the charter, which by the way was one meal, and then we would both agree to part company. He would simply resign and he could keep his dignity intact.
He chose to desert his crew and his job and duties in the middle and put everyone in a very difficult position with no regard for the guests that paid a lot of money for his services. He simple was not the professional he purported himself to be. I was very disappointed in him.
How do you feel about Chef Leon’s performance overall and his repetitive menu of beef cheeks?
Capt Lee: As I stated in the above response, I was disappointed in his work ethic, or lack thereof, and his ability to get on with the rest of the crew, but as far as his menu went, while it was the first time for individual guests to experience his beef cheeks, you like to think that if a guest were to request something else he would have the skills to deliver it. He simple choose not to. I wasn’t overly impressed with his abilities as a charter chef. Just not the right fit for his personality or specific skill set.
What are your feelings on Leon skipping the reunion?
Capt Lee: I thought that he missed out on a good opportunity to let people know how he felt and his views on what transpired on board. There are always two viewpoints on all situations and I’m sure the view public would have loved to heard his.
During the reunion, Rocky Dakota insinuated you play favorites and show support to some not all staff members. Your thoughts on her accusation?
Capt Lee: Well my thoughts on that are this. My requirements on board for everyone is, do your job, don’t embarrass yourself, and do not embarrass the boat. I don’t have to like someone to keep them on board, provided they are adhering to the rules. You are not going to love everyone that you work with. That’s just not realistic. Rocky called herself a stew and clearly was not, she didn’t want to learn, it was just “too much” for her to handle, she thought more of her social life with the crew, the guests and clearly didn’t do her job. She embarrassed herself on more than one occasion, she cried to anyone who would listen and give her what she craved most, sympathy and attention.
She embarrassed the yacht by stripping down to her underwear and diving off the boat mid charter to show her solidarity for a chef that deserted his crew mid charter because ‘she was concerned for her microphone’ (bullsh*t)! She was just giving herself another platform to direct attention her way. In the end, it was all because she didn’t know what she was getting into, and still doesn’t know what it’s about. It was too much, but not for everyone else that had to carry her weight. I think that about sums up my thoughts on Rocky.
Fans love your no-nonsense, “own it,” approach when addressing Rocky’s behavior. Was there anything else that Rocky did that was not covered at the reunion?
Capt Lee: No, I think I pretty much covered how I felt about her. I think adding anything else would be a waste of time. She has talent, but can’t seem to get out of her own way to use it properly. Hope she does some day. Hate to see it wasted.
The “Below Deck” crew are very vocal on social media, Rocky recently tweeted, “Does Capt. Lee condone Kate’s nasty behavior on social media? She is the chief stew and they both set the tone. Healthy working environment!” What is your response to that?
Capt Lee: Rocky has mastered the art of misdirection, whenever she feels threatened she will deflect the conversation away from anything that would put her in a negative light. She simply will not own up to any mistakes or fault that she has. It was like when she was in charge of a frozen pizza and microwave popcorn. Our culinary trained chef simply had no clue as to how to deal with it. So, when I stated that the oven fire, although minimal at that point, was Leon’s fault for not keeping his ovens free from grease, she immediately stated that “Oh there was a cup of wine that Kate had been drinking out of all night.” Really, and that plays into the fire situation how, when you were the only one in the galley when the fire started and you immediately went into blame Kate mode. Oh and all the while the chef, whose job you were doing was sleeping instead of taking care of his guests.
Rocky claims, she visits and cooks dinner for you & your wife when she visits Florida. Is that true?
Capt Lee: Rocky has never been to my home, that would require and invitation and I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
How do you balance a family life and a career in charter yachting?
Capt Lee: I am married to my best friend in the world and she keeps me very grounded. She understands what my career is about and it has given us a very nice life style. But like anything worth having it takes hard work and sacrifice on the part of both of us.
“Below Deck” fans love Capt. Lee. Have you adjusted to your sex symbol “stud of the sea” status?
Capt Lee: I’m not sure I will ever adjust to the ‘sex symbol’ or ‘Stud of the Sea’ status. The way I view myself is I’m just a captain on big yachts that just happens to get filmed doing his job. And I try to do the best job for my owner’s, crew, and guests that I know how to do.
The adventure never ends for Captain Lee, this year he served as the official captain of the 2015 Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As the official captain of this year’s Winterfest, Capt Lee cruised along the holiday parade route down the New River in one of the extravagantly decorated ships featured in the event, which attracts more than one million spectators a year.
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Nancy Zhāng is an Entertainment Blogger for All About The Tea. Nancy covers hot topics, recaps and celeb news. She loves to multi-task as a writer and a private chef. She received a B.S. in Mass Communications from LSU. Nancy’s married and the proud mom of 2 German Shepherds.