While the crew drama might have Bravo fans hungry for more, Ileisha Dell, Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 4 chef, never succumbed to the occasional rough patches. From the multi-course meals to making fresh pasta, the celebrated chef took each wave of new charter guests in stride. During a recent interview, Chef Ileisha shared why she felt home in the galley and whether she would step back into another charter season.
Fans of any Bravo Below Deck show appreciate that the crew is one of the reasons why people watch every week. For food lovers, the show’s chefs have impressed viewers with their ability to create 5-star meals in somewhat limited conditions. On Below Deck Sailing Yacht, the combination of the tight galley space and the “heeling” require the chefs to continually react.
Recently, FoodSided spoke with Ileisha Dell, the chef on Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 4. While Ileisha has been a professional chef for almost two decades and has worked on many yachts, stepping into the Bravo world is a different experience. Although it was her first time to be “on a screen,” she said that she was “super excited to be part of it after being in the yachting world for so long.”
Given her vast experience, Ileisha appreciated that she wanted to give the guests the best possible experience. Even though she might have been more tied to the yacht on the show than in her previous experiences, there were certain concepts that she knew how to execute well. As seen throughout the season, the guests raved about her food.
Chef Ileisha impressed with two particular items from Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 4. One, she made fresh pasta. As a trained pastry chef, she enjoys making the dish from scratch.
Specifically, Chef Ileisha said, “I love making fresh pasta and I made an effort to make fresh pasta on every charter. Mediterranean inspired dishes, with fresh tomatoes and olive oil is favorite.”
Although that dish might sound simple, it is her choice to celebrate fresh, local ingredients that make the meals memorable. Having traveled the world, the chef understands that the best dishes are ones that are sourced from the local markets.
Even though the guests’ preferences might feel over the top, Chef Ileisha was up to every challenge, including a 10-course tasting menu. Although it appeared daunting, she took it in stride and somehow kept smiling.
Sometimes she questioned “how am I going to get this done on only four hours of sleep,” but somehow she always pulled it off. Speaking to how she persevered, Chef Ileisha said, “burn out is real but you have to have that inner strength when nothing is left. You have to make the guests’ time amazing, and that idea pushes me through.”
Looking at the plethora of food that Chef Ileisha made throughout the season, it was extremely impressive. Since she never shied away from baking, especially given her pastry background, she believes that knowledge helped her in her career. As she mentioned, “you can’t just toss something in when it comes to pastry. All that training has helped me. Even though I do not have a sweet tooth, I love making pastries. It might be one of the reasons why I make pasta so often.”
Even though she has worked on yachts before, Chef said that these small, three-day charters allowed her to push her creativity. She mentioned that it allowed her to try new food options throughout the season. It was different than her previous experience where she cooked for the same family time and again.
While the guests are always the focus, the personal dynamics between the crew is the drama fills each episode. For Chef Ileisha, she said that she was “super grateful for the crew.” Although the stories would filter through the galley, she mentioned that she was often too busy to let it all overcome her. Saying, “honestly, it was like in one ear and out the other. If it wasn’t for the cooking, maybe I would have been in the drama more, but I was too busy.”
With Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 4 over, Chef Ileisha said that she would be willing to step back into that galley for another go, especially if the other ladies of Parsifall III would be part of the crew.
Below Deck Sailing Yacht airs on Bravo Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET and can be streamed on Peacock. Chef Ileisha Dell was Season 4’s chef.