'Below Deck': Ashton Pienaar Reveals Why Chef Kevin Was so Sick

Below Deck season seven started with a bang as yet another chef became extremely ill during the first episode. Last season, Chef Mila Kolomeitseva from Below Deck Mediterranean dealt with a bout of food poisoning before the first charter.

She managed to recover before the guests arrived on Sirocco. But this time the chef became ill during the charter. Chef Kevin Dobson was humming away in the galley, preparing a wide range of Thai delicacies, much to the guests’ delight.

But suddenly, Dobson wasn’t feeling quite right and could tell his stomach was doing backflips. He tried to push through but eventually spent more time in the bathroom than in the galley kitchen. With an important dinner to prepare, can Dobson still pull through?

He was worried

The primary charter guest planned to ask his girlfriend to marry him and wanted an extra special meal prepared for two. When the guest requested Dobson to make the meal, he was already feeling queasy.

Dobson confides in chief stew Kate Chastain that he’s having serious stomach cramping. “Stomach cramps, they’ve been happening the last few hours,” he shares with her. He also later asks Chastain if she has a medical kit with medication to help with the cramping and diarrhea.

Chastain asks Captain Lee Rosbach how to handle Dobson’s illness. She wonders if they want to slow it down or speed it up. Meanwhile, Dobson is in the bathroom moaning loudly. He’s even laughing a little bit about how ridiculously ill he suddenly became.

Did he have Thai Tummy?

Viewers will have to wait and see if Dobson successfully makes the meal. Some viewers were concerned that Dobson may have had a communicable illness that could have been transferred to the guests during food preparation.

In his blog, Rosbach assured fans that Dobson followed all correct hand sanitation procedures. “I’m sorry that you were a bit under the weather but I think you are handling it properly, and glad to see you using proper sanitation procedures,” he wrote.

Bosun Ashton Pienaar gave Dobson a shout out on Instagram for pulling through, despite having “Thai Tummy.” Pienaar wrote, “A little shout out to my mate @chef_kevin_dobson for pulling through the way he did on his meals even though he was fighting some Thai belly. Smiles, smells and cigars!” 

What is Thai Tummy?

Thai Tummy sounds very similar to what travelers might experience when visiting Mexico with Montezuma’s Revenge. One traveler posted to Trip Advisor about symptoms that closely resembled what Dobson exhibited.

“I just got ill in Phuket (April 2014) with what seems like the ‘standard’ Western Thai Tummy sickness; low stomach pain and then (excuse my bluntness) squirting [diarrhea] which seems pretty constant for a day or two,” the traveler shared. “It doesn’t ‘hurt’ as per se, but is very inconvenient and leaves you feeling a bit rubbish.” The traveler added that the only thing that remedied the situation was Erfuzide tablets.

Traveler’s diarrhea is a result of eating or drinking contaminated food or water, WebMD reports. But most importantly, “Food handlers who do not wash their hands after they use the bathroom can transmit the infection to people who consume the contaminated food.” According to the Thai Travel Clinic, traveler’s diarrhea is very common for those visiting Asia as approximately 16% of all travelers experience the unpleasant illness.

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