"I think everybody was shocked as a collective," Anastasia Surmava says of chef Mila Kolomeitseva's cooking

By Justin Curto
July 01, 2019 01:36 PM

Anastasia Surmava has worked as a yacht chef, but when she joined the crew on season 4 of Below Deck Mediterranean, she was excited to leave the galley and work as a stewardess.

So, the third stew didn’t expect captain Sandy Yawn to ask her to cook dinner on the boat’s second charter of the season, after chef Mila Kolomeitseva continued to make mistakes in the kitchen.

“I was definitely super nervous, but at the same time, I was still like, I’m not the chef,” Surmava, 27, tells PEOPLE. “At the end of the day, this is on Mila.”

Despite Surmava’s experience and background (her mother, from the Republic of Georgia, is a pastry chef) the guests weren’t fully satisfied with her meal either. She served a raw beef carpaccio for the first course, which the primary charter guest wouldn’t touch.

Credit: Greg Endries/Bravo

“The head charter guest didn’t eat raw meat, which was not on her preference sheet!” Surmava says. “I stand by that first course, I thought it was a gorgeous dish, and most of them liked it.”

The rest of the meal was more of a hit, featuring a high-end spaghetti and meatballs as the main course. Surmava was glad the guests had “at least one good meal” after Kolomeitseva served canned seafood and pancakes from a box.

“These poor people just paid thousands of dollars to be here, and this is what they’re getting?” Surmava says of Kolomeitseva’s food. “It’s embarrassing.”

“I think everybody was shocked as a collective,” she continues about the chef’s work.

The guests — friends of Yawn — still tipped the crew well, and Yawn decided to keep Kolomeitseva on for the next charter. On Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen after the episode aired, she explained that it’s difficult to find a new chef in the middle of the yachting season.

“We’re a team and a team has each other’s back,” she said. “When I heard [Surmava] actually was a chef on other boats, smaller boats, it’s like, Hey, you cook for four or you cook for 12, what’s the difference?”

Even though Surmava didn’t expect to be cooking this season, she said she’s “definitely open to” returning for another season of the show. She’s currently getting her eco-cafe and yoga studio off the ground in Sri Lanka.

“You’ll complain about it and you bitch, moan, but at the end of the day, it’s a very addicting industry,” she says. “It’s really hard to stay away.”

Below Deck Mediterranean airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.