Footage from the episode shows the chef putting her tongue on raw meat before preparing it.
The first episode of Below Deck Mediterranean‘s fourth season premiered on Bravo on Monday night, and Mila Kolomeitseva, the new chef on board, has already drawn some serious attention to herself—and not necessarily in a good way.
The Siberian-born former professional poker player has joined the cast as the first-ever female chef in franchise history. According to her resume, Kolomeitseva was trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, a culinary school known for being one of the best in the world.
At the beginning of the episode, the other staff aboard the Sirocco—this season’s yacht of choice—were excited to see what Kolomeitseva could bring to the table, especially the captain of the crew, Sandy Yawn.
Soon after boarding the ship, Kolomeitseva came down with food poisoning, popping in and out of crew meetings and pre-charter preparations to go to the bathroom and vomit throughout the episode. This behavior became the least of the staff’s problems, however, as the food she later prepared for the guests stunned everyone involved.
First, Kolomeitseva added an unexpected ingredient to the foie gras burgers she made for lunch: Hidden Valley Ranch straight from the bottle.
“Pays 10’s of thousands of dollars… gets Hidden Valley ranch on burgers…” Colin Macy-O’Toole, one of the ship’s deckhands, jokingly Tweeted after the episode premiered.
The next infraction? Some questionable dishes Kolomeitseva planned on serving as an appetizer for dinner. These included tacos, enchiladas and a sad-looking plate of nachos. “Seeing the tacos is very disturbing to me,” Yawn said in an in-episode interview, originally assuming that the tacos were for the crew, not the guests. “But I’m just thinking about her resume, and I’m hoping for the best.”
The nachos she produced are criticized even more, as she is seen pouring niblets of corn straight from a can onto a plate of tortilla chips and salsa. “Are you going to put cheese on this or something?” Aesha Scott, the second stew, asked before she was supposed to take the dish out to the guests.
Eventually, Hannah Ferrier, the chief stewardess, refused to take the nachos to the charter guests, saying, “In nine years of yachting, I’ve never refused to take a dish out. But I just cannot serve that to guests. It’s disgusting.”
Kolomeitseva’s preparation of the main course is perhaps the most concerning, though, as she is seen not only licking the steaks she is preparing to serve, but also microwaving them because she does not time the meal properly.
Yes, you heard that right: She is seen appearing to touch her tongue to a hunk of raw meat before serving it. See the Twitter video below for evidence.
She also licked her fingers and touched the steaks before putting them in the microwave. (Reminder: She had food poisoning and was vomiting just before this point.) “I’ve never seen a chef put steaks into a microwave,” Ferrier said on the show.
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Based on viewers’ responses to the episode on Twitter, Ferrier was not the only one who was disturbed.
Twitter user @alibabi33 commented, “#BelowDeckMED oh my god!!! That chef licked her fingers after she touched the steak, then touched it again!!!!! She was just throwing up!!!!!!” while @BabyZingbot4000 Tweeted, “The Chef is using Ranch Dressing? Someone has lied on their CV.”
Padma Lakshmi, host of Bravo’s Top Chef, also chimed in on the controversy, tweeting “absolutely no comment” when prompted to speak to the steak-licking video.
Despite the criticism from near and far, the guests on board didn’t seem to mind Kolomeitseva’s cooking, with one of them even saying that the foie gras burger was the “best burger [he’d] ever had.”
Below Deck Mediterranean airs on Mondays at 9 pm E.T. on Bravo.