‘Below Deck Sailing Yacht’s Daisy Kelliher Is A Perfect Chief Stew (2023)

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Below Deck Sailing Yacht didn’t have a perfect first season. The Bravo franchise began airing in February 2020 and people seemed to watch and stick with it simply because we were trapped at home and it was on. But the pandemic also helped the show course correct for its second season, when an entirely new crew, save for the lovely Captain Glenn, boarded Parsifal III in Croatia, one of the only destinations available for a show like this to happen last summer.

Amongst this crew was a variety of yachties that proved to be the right mix of horny and messy and catty to keep us tuned in every Monday night. But beyond the making out and messing up, standard Below Deck fare, Sailing Yacht has also achieved something rare this season: they’ve found the perfect chief stew.

Kate Chastain and Hannah Ferrier shaped the role on Below Deck and Below Deck Mediterranean for six and five seasons respectively, and when both left their shows last year, it felt unlikely that another person could make that same impression on viewers and fellow crew members alike. Would there ever be another chief stew we would shower with crown emojis?

Enter 34-year-old Daisy Kelliher, a chief stew from Ireland that, as the internet might say, understood the assignment. She’s proven to be exactly the right balance for the role: she’s competent at her job, snarky in her interviews, and just plain fun to watch. I spoke to Daisy over Zoom last week where she joined me from Palma in Mallorca, Spain, where she’s currently working on a yacht. I knew this because even though she was dressed in a pretty, flowery yellow dress about to head out for the night, she was clearly seated in a crew mess, complete with radios charging behind her.

(Video) Daisy Kelliher Reveals Why She Unfollowed Colin MacRae | WWHL

“It was never particularly a dream or desire of mine,” Daisy confessed about joining a Below Deck show. “I think if Covid hadn’t come around, I would’ve never done the show, so finding the silver linings in everything. Thank you Covid for giving me that opportunity,” she laughed.

Her Bravotv.com bio states that Daisy is a “yachting legacy” considering her grandfather was an Olympic sailor for Ireland in 1964 and many family members, including her parents, aunts, and uncles have also served as yachties. But she’s also creating her own legacy on the show, as she’s proven she can smile at guests, bicker with the chef, gossip with her fellow stews, and take shots with the crew, all while remaining likable, in control of her department, and hilarious on TV. But even she wasn’t so sure at first.

“There were a few friends who texted me after being let go from my job; the industry was very unstable and they said, ‘I think you should go for it,'” she recalled when it came to applying for this season of the Bravo show. “I was like, I have nothing to lose. I never thought I would actually get it. And then when it started getting closer and they offered it to me, I was like, you know what? Why not? Maybe this is an opportunity I should grab and do something different and fun, and I did it.”

It was not only a reasonable outlook on the whole situation that Daisy had working in her favor, but many other elements as well. For one: she was familiar with the show. “One of the engineers on our boat encouraged us to watch it,” she said of a previous job. “There is a stigma in the industry about the show, but it’s a really good bonding thing because everybody can get involved. It’s not quite like the other reality TV shows, it was something we could all talk about and relate to around the crew mess. We would pause, it would take like two hours to watch it because we’d be like,'[Gasp] I can’t believe she did that, that’s not how I would do that!’ So we enjoyed the show and we got into it and mainly it gave us all something to watch and bond over.”

But it’s not as though Daisy was taking notes or planning out what her own experience on the show might be. In fact, she did the opposite. “I had very few expectations,” she said, and admitted that she spent the most energy even deciding if she wanted to sign up for the show or not. “Once I had decided and it had been confirmed, it was quite close to the date of joining the boat and at that stage, I just thought about not overthinking it. I overthink everything and I get myself into a rabbit hole. I had watched the show but I thought if I didn’t have an expectation, I couldn’t be let down and that was kinda what happened. I just took it as it came and it was fun. It was good.”

(Video) Below Deck Sailing Yacht: Chief Stew Daisy Kelliher Opens Up on Season 3 as We Approach the Finale

She also made it a point to not reach out to previous cast members for advice, but did worry a bit about what her coworkers might think. “I was almost a bit embarrassed to say that I was on the show because you sit around the crew mess and you are like, ‘Why do these people do it, it’s career suicide!’ And then when I made the decision to do it, I was so shocked at how many people supported me. I thought a lot of people would try to talk me out of it, which they didn’t, they were surprisingly supportive.” While she said the prevailing opinion in the industry is “It’s rubbish being on reality TV,” she felt the shift once she revealed she’d be on the show. “They’re like, ‘Actually, why not? That might be a good move for you and I think you’d be good at it.'”

There was just one thing Daisy was concerned about being good at though. “It was very important for me to do a good job, that was my main thing. I didn’t want to seem bad at my job. Not only did I feel like I was representing myself, but I was representing previous and future employers. I didn’t want people to go up to my old captain and be like, ‘Why did you hire that girl? How did you work with her for three years, she was so rubbish!’ So it was important for me to do a good job, at any job I do, but particularly at something that’s so public. They were all supportive before and I think they’re all supportive now, so they seem pretty happy,” she said of her colleagues. “I think the biggest compliment since the show’s aired is my friends going, ‘That is literally you. There’s no shadow of a doubt that you [didn’t] put on any kind of performance or played up to anything.’ So that was nice to know that my true personality shined through.”

And the people that know her best had only one worry about Daisy joining the show. “All of my friends and family, their biggest concern was like, you can’t hook up with someone. I’m like, do you know me? I don’t hook up with anyone! I make bad choices in men and I make really stupid choices. When I get in lust or in love or caught up, I can follow through with that. Out of nine years [in the industry] I think I’ve kissed one crew member and another crew member it’s gone a little further and that’s not a lot, in my opinion, in a work environment. So I know myself and I knew that it was very unlikely that I would end up in a romance with someone. But I get very caught up quickly,” she laughed, “So I think my friends were on edge like, ‘We know Daisy, and if there’s someone she likes, all rationality goes out the window.'”

Daisy went on to say, “My job is very important for me and if I did choose to engage in something further, it would have to be somebody I really cared about to jeopardize my job. In six weeks [how long they’re on the boat for], for me, that’s just not a possibility. And then the fact that I wasn’t attracted to Gary or JL and that Colin was taken, that was also physically not possible as well for me to hook up.”

I did have to ask about Colin, the other crew member this season that has been a joy to watch, and Daisy confirmed it was just as great to work with him. “He’s great at his job, he’s super helpful, and what I thought was really cool about him as well is, he could’ve gone to bed a lot earlier than he did. Other crew members did, you don’t quite see that in the show. They seem like they party a lot harder than they did, when in reality, it was really Gary, Alli, Sydney, and Colin who stayed up the latest most nights. And actually me, close behind, which is really funny because on the show it looks like I go to bed really early,” she laughed. “But that’s what I really liked about Colin; he was level-headed, he was definitely my go-to person. As much as Alli was my good friend and I was able to go to her, she was quite green and it does show on the show. Often when I went to vent to her, she was quiet because not only does she not want to say anything bad about anyone else, but she also didn’t really understand the situation. She didn’t really understand Natasha’s role, she didn’t really understand the impact Gary’s actions were having. So when I was venting, she did the right thing. She wasn’t sure what to say because she’s never been on a boat that size before. Colin was a good sounding board, so we grew our connection through that. But yeah, nobody’s perfect, but he’s not far off.”

(Video) Your First Look at Below Deck Down Under Season 2 | Below Deck Down Under Sneak Peak | Bravo

Though that’s a compliment her stews could also share about working with her. This season is one of very few where the chief stew is not dealing with drama in her own department. She’s flanked by two competent women that get the job done (and well!) with little to no complaints along the way. “For me, it was a very natural team, that was the way I would expect my team to be,” Daisy said. “I am a relaxed chief stew, and I think you can see with my team I was very relaxed or with anyone that did their job. Do your job and I don’t care what you do. The times I got more highly strung were the times when I felt like people were pushing back against me. If I give you a comment or a discussion at least let’s work together in the right direction.”

She went on to say, “Dani is very qualified. To a point, more qualified than me. Alli, she was everything I expected from a green stew. She asked the right questions. I joke saying, ‘There’s never a stupid question.’ There are a million stupid questions, don’t waste my time. Ask good questions. And she did. Her questions were valid and the rest of the time she used her initiative. I’d say, go do this, and you could tell she’d never done it before, but she would use Google or look at a book or use her brain, and with something that was a bit more complicated, she’d come to me or Dani.”

“Personality-wise, I’m a girl’s girl, I have no interest in having friction with any of my team,” she continued. “The two of them came to me and said, ‘You know what was great about you, was at times we worked really well because we wanted to help you and we wanted to make you look good.’ That’s what you should get from your subordinates if they respect you and like you, and if they don’t, they are gonna work against you. That’s the way I’ve run every team I’ve ever had so hopefully with future teams I would expect the same, but I know that’s probably not gonna happen,” she said with a smile.

The only drama Daisy was really involved in this season, apart from a small bit of butting heads with Gary in an interior-exterior rift that quite frankly seemed a bit played-up for the show, was the standard friction with Chef Natasha. I mean, she had to have some drama or she would’ve seemed too good to be true, right? But as Daisy explained of her relationship with the chef, “I was never not friends with her, it was all on a professional basis. When you’ve been doing it as long as I have, you know that work is work and then you have to put it behind you and go out for your crew meals. So for me, I never had a problem with her personally.” If anything, their rifts would play out more in their interviews for the show than in the actual galley. “I gauged Natasha quite quickly,” Daisy said. “If somebody pushed back that quickly, you know straight away, ok this person doesn’t want to hear what I have to say. I was quite surprised because I know everyone says, ‘Oh chefs, they never take feedback well.’ I’ve worked with some amazing chefs and they are like, ‘Daisy give me more.’ So I’ll say, ‘Well they left the potato behind or they said it was a bit salty.’ It sucks to hear but that’s my job to pass it on and it’s their job to take it on. With Natasha, I was taken aback, and honestly, I find her quite intimidating.” So while Daisy isn’t a fan of any conflict, she also wanted the best for Natasha and wanted her to look good and thought passing any feedback on was in her best interest. “But it wasn’t shocking to see what she said about me,” she shrugged when we discussed some of the harsher interview clips. “She texted me saying, ‘Oh I called you the B-word!’ and I was like, ‘Natasha, we both knew we were gonna slag each other off, it’s just a show and unfortunately we have to hear opinions we don’t want to hear, and no hard feelings.’ I never had an issue with Natasha, I never had an issue with anyone, but we’re friends now and she’s apologized to me which I didn’t expect but I graciously accepted.”

And if you thought the list of reasons why Daisy was an exceptional chief stew is running low, it’s not. She also gets along with the captain. Certainly not always the case in Below Deck world, but often a better experience for all involving and watching when it does happen. “He’s the exact kind of captain I look to work for,” Daisy said of Captain Glenn. “He’s not a micromanager and he’s just funny, helpful, he stands back and does his job, he intervenes when he needs to. I think he’s great at his job. It was funny because after the show, one of the girls texted me being like, ‘So we had this really weird conversation with Glenn that he thought you hated him,’ and I thought the exact same thing! But with me I was just working, I wasn’t there to… I’m not anywhere to build friendships. If they naturally happen, great, but I don’t join a boat to be like, oh I can’t wait to see how many friends I make. So I was like oh my god, no I love Glenn, I thought he hated me! I think both of us would happily work with each other any day of the week.”

(Video) Should The Parsifal III Permanently Retire? | WWHL

Daisy has continued working with her stews in a weekly IGTV series they call “Pita Party” where they break down that week’s episode, and it’s served as the main reason she’s stayed in touch with Alli and Dani, while she’s working in Spain and they’re currently in Australia. But she’s also been reaching out, now that Dani has given birth to a baby girl — who was likely conceived during or directly after the show filmed last summer. “I care for Dani a lot and what she’s going through and her future,” Daisy said. “I have sent her a present, I’m sure she’ll show everyone, it’s very small, very cute,” she smiled. “But I do try not to overwhelm her with messages, I’m like that in nature anyway. I know she’s really tired at the moment and quite overwhelmed, and I’m sure her Instagram and WhatsApp are going off. So I’m like, ‘I’m here for you, I hope you’re doing ok,’ and I know that if she did need anything, she’d be quick on the phone to me and Alli.”

In reflecting on the season, Daisy said, “Yeah I really enjoyed it. I think I did a good job, I’m glad that my personality and my dry humor, which I know everybody doesn’t get, kind of shined. I actually texted Alli yesterday, ‘My favorite thing about the show is how hard you laugh at me.’ No one else found me nearly as funny. Every time I made a snarky comment, Alli’s in the back laughing and you can see it in the show. But I thought it was great, I was lucky to be able to experience something like that. I’m lucky to be in yachting, I’m lucky to have done something like that, and yeah, I made some good friends, some good tips and I got to see how reality TV works so it was a win-win for me.” But would she go back? “Yeah if I was invited and the time was right, I’m sure I would.” She acknowledged that she had a “luckier experience” than others, saying that when she watched the show, “Overall, my demeanor, my humor, my management, none of it really surprised me. I was like, that’s who I am and I’m ok with that.”

Another person who is very ok with that is former Below Deck chief stew Kate Chastain who told me, “I absolutely love Daisy. She’s great at her job, she works hard, and she just seems like she’d be fun to hang out with — an important quality in a person if you’re going to be stuck on a boat together. I remember the exact moment I knew Daisy was a badass. She had just found out someone messed up a guest cabin so she immediately got on the radio and called a crew meeting. I remember thinking, ‘Wait..the chief stew called a crew meeting?!’ I never knew I was allowed to do that! It never even occurred to me! It was such a boss move.”

Kate will also be happy to know that Daisy got fairly tipsy for the reunion. “I started drinking at like 3 pm and I didn’t eat so I only remember the first five minutes and I don’t remember anything after that,” she confessed. “I am really embarrassed. I’m on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen next week and I have to apologize. I can’t tell you what happened at the reunion, I don’t remember! A lot came out, a huge amount of information that I knew, so none of it was a shock to me, but a lot of it was shocking to the other cast members. It was intense in that way but there was no aggression or shouting or anything like that. It wasn’t as bad as what I thought.” But of course she’s still walking away from it with a lesson, especially after getting text messages from two of the crew members noticing her tipsiness: “Don’t drink on an empty stomach and then record a TV show, it’s not gonna end well.”

Though it sounds as though the rest of this season, which has just two more episodes before the reunion special, does end quite well. “My favorite moment is yet to come,” Daisy shared. “It’s on the last night when we’re all in the hot tub, I got so much joy out of it. You see it in the trailer, we’re all in bath bubbles that we put in the jacuzzi. I haven’t felt joy like that in… it was so weird. I was like, this is amazing. And also the dinner on our last night as well, there were a lot of tears but all good tears. It was just a great experience. I’m glad it’s coming to an end though, I’m done with seeing me on TV.” Too bad for her, because the rest of the world certainly is not.

(Video) Below Deck Chief Stews Ranked - Best to Worst

Below Deck Sailing Yacht airs Monday at 9 pm ET/PT on Bravo.

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Was Daisy a good chief stew? ›

She has since reprised her role in Below Deck Sailing Yacht seasons 3 and 4 and impressed fans so much many now regard her as the best chief stew in the franchise.

Who is the best stew on Below Deck? ›

'Below Deck Sailing Yacht's' Daisy Kelliher Is the Best Chief Stew.

What is Daisy from Below Deck doing now? ›

Is Daisy from Below Deck Sailing Yacht teaching a course? Today, Daisy took to Instagram to announce that she is launching a course all about how to work on a yacht.

Was Francesca a bad chief stew? ›

Below Deck (Season 8)

To make matters worse, Francesca wasn't the uplifting leader that the interior needed. She often talked behind the crew's backs and was not good at managing a group of people. Because of her lazy management style, she was not the best chief stew in the franchise.


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5. Unpacking the upcoming 'Below Deck Sailing Yacht' drama w/ Colin MacRae & Gary King |VirtualRealiTea
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