Who Is Below Deck's New Chief Stew, Francesca Rubi?

Following Kate Chastain's Below Deck departure, Francesca Rubi joined the cast for Season 8. Just because Francesca is new to reality TV, that doesn't mean she's new to the industry. The Australian native began her career managing events for celebrities before getting into yachting as a hostess, a purser, a deckhand, and a stew, per The Daily Dish. The show referred to her as a "perfectionist who runs a tight ship by raising the bar when it comes to service," which sounds great. However, Francesca confessed in the Season 8 trailer, "I do take my job a little bit too seriously sometimes." 

Apparently, Francesca's stews Elizabeth Frankini and Isabelle "Izzy" Wouters do not have that same outlook, which leads to some drama this season. Francesca told Decider, "Improving that comes with doing the work. Initially, when I had a chat with them, they were both so energetic. They were there, they were happy to work, they wanted to throw themselves into it." However, that didn't last throughout the season, with Francesca describing her subordinates as a "work in progress."

Even though Francesca is confident in her prowess as a stew, she did joke, "I need a lockbox for my phone" admitting that she's nervous about the social media feedback she will receive, specifically in regard to Kate's absence. Francesca acknowledged, "With change, initially, it's hard to adjust to something new. Fair enough. I get it. [Kate's] a staple in this industry. I love her as well." Nevertheless, those are some big shoes to fill.

Expectations were high for Below Deck's Francesca Rubi

Addressing Kate Chastain's Below Deck exit with Decider, Francesca Rubi remarked, "I think that our standards as a chief stewardess are very similar, but how we approach it might be a bit different," acknowledging that "the comparisons will come." 

Francesca confessed that it "took a little while" to build up trust with Captain Lee Rosbach, who is super close with Kate, both on and off the boat. She rationalized, "It takes a little while to earn someone's trust and see how they work. It's the same with myself and my stewardesses, so I understand from his point of view, it takes time to get to know me, my strengths, my weaknesses." She even teased that they had a "pretty rocky start," which is a bummer for them, but it's most likely a guarantee for good TV.

Despite the troubles that Francesca alluded to, Captain Lee told Entertainment Tonight, "I have such empathy for Francesca ... she's worried about how she's going to get along with a new captain, you know, am I going to live up to his standards?" Addressing fans who miss Kate, Captain Lee said, "People are different. Give them the chance to prove themselves. Give them a chance to show you what they can do, and don't come into the season prejudging."

It sounds like Francesca will provide some entertainment for Below Deck fans, whether they love her, loathe her, or vacillate back and forth throughout the season.