Telling it like it is. Rachel Hargrove‘s time on Below Deck left a lasting impression — but it was her offscreen behavior that has kept viewers talking.
The chef was a scene-stealing addition to the cast when she joined the hit Bravo series in 2020. At the time, Rachel’s cooking and witty comebacks made her a topic of discussion amongst the crew and the fans. During season 8, Rachel shocked everyone when her concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic inspired her to walk off the boat ahead of a charter.
After returning shortly after her dramatic departure, the Bravo personality explained her state of mind. “I didn’t really want to leave Captain Lee hanging,” she told Entertainment Tonight in January 2021. “I just needed a breather and needed to walk off and take a second. Especially for everything that was happening to process it. That was one of the craziest [preference] sheets I’ve seen in my life. And then, I’m running as a sole chef? But it really was, I didn’t want to disappoint him.”
Rachel, who made headlines for saying “eat my cooter” on her way out, noted that she was struggling with personal issues as well. “It’s a lot of stress when you got all those cameras in your face constantly,” she added.
Former chief stew Kate Chastain weighed in on the situation after working with Rachel in the past. “I wasn’t surprised,” she said on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen at the time. “When we worked together, years and years ago, I think she quit at least three times — but came back the next day.”
Rachel’s coworker Eddie Lucas, however, was less pleased by her antics while on the boat. “The crew nights out are supposed to be about the crew. Have some fun, have drinks, and come together as a crew,” the first offer detailed during a December 2020 episode of the show. “It went fine at first but then once enough of the sauce got into Rachel, she becomes a different person. It’s rude and classless.”
The Below Deck alum said he didn’t tell Rachel his issues because he wasn’t sure what her reaction would be. “If I did that, I was afraid she would just pack up and leave. I don’t want to lose our chef that we desperately need because of me,” he added.
Meanwhile, Captain Lee revealed that he only learned about the situation after the episodes started to air. “Well, I was surprised, to say the least, and I thought it could have been handled better,” the captain shared during a joint interview with Rachel on WWHL in January 2021. “But I’ve seen a lot worse behavior from other chefs that have been on board my vessels. Well, I didn’t condone it. Like I said, I’ve seen way worse.”
Rachel, for her part, stood by her decision while filming the series. “For me, grudges mean that I would actually have to care and give significance to that issue or that individual. I don’t,” the TV personality, who returned for season 9, exclusively told Us Weekly in October 2021 about her feud with Eddie. “Also if you work in restaurants and in kitchens, my behavior is nothing different than anybody else’s. It’s just a little bit extra emphasized.”
Scroll on for a breakdown of Rachel’s most controversial moments: