Chef Ben Says Getting the Call to Return to 'Below Deck' Was Something That 'Needed to Happen'

The Below Deck alum stepped in to take over for stewardess Anastasia Surmava as head chef

Below Deck Mediterranean didn’t just need Chef Ben Robinson, Robinson shared that he needed the show as well.

As stewardess Anastasia Surmava finally decided to step down as temporary chef in last week’s episode, Captain Sandy Yawn had to hire a replacement, which fans later found out would be none other than fan-favorite Chef Ben.

The British culinary expert, 39, made his return to the Bravo reality TV series Monday, marking his first time back on the show since he helped launch its first season in 2016. Prior to that, Robinson was a founding cast member on the original Below Deck series that debuted in 2013, leaving after its fourth season.

During the after show of Monday night’s episode with Robinson, the chef explained what the moment was like when he received the call to make his return.

Ben Robison

“I was in a strip club actually — no, no, I’m just kidding,” he joked.

“It was really good timing,” he shared. “I have a catering company, and I don’t think I had a whole lot going on at that point. It was very serendipitous, it was a good thing. It needed to happen.”

Robinson added that he feels best fit to stand in on the show, being that he’s an “actual chef.”

“People call upon me when they’re in a lot of trouble, it’s happened to me a couple of times,” he laughed, adding that as seasoned yacht chef, it made sense to come back.

When Robinson was only 28, he was “the head chef on one of the biggest yachts of the world.”

“So it’s kind of my shtick, you know, I get it,” he told Bravo. “I’m impressed with Anastasia to get it together for three or four charters. I probably didn’t give her as much credit as she deserves.”

Being a part of Below Deck is not an easy feat, Robinson added.

“You’ve got to be pretty brave to say ‘Oh yeah, let’s do a Below Deck season, let’s just do that shall we?’ It’s the hardest job there is.”

“You’re on your own, you’re in charge of provisioning, budgeting, it’s a tiny little space you have no help. I’m not attributing the failures of the other two chefs either, a good chef will be able to rise above it, but it’s tough, it’s a tough gig,” he added.

However, Robinson’s return to Below Deck might be his last, he hinted to PEOPLE in an exclusive interview.

“Ultimately, I’m approaching 40 now. I got into the industry when I was 22, I was a young buck. You can do anything when you’re 22. Below Deck and Below Deck Mediterranean carried me through into my mid-30s. I don’t know how Roger Federer does it, to be honest!”

Below Deck Mediterranean airs Mondays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.

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