Meet the chef: Monica Galetti

Masterchef judge, Amazing Hotels presenter and chef patron of Mere in London, it's an understatement to say that Monica Galetti likes to keep busy

Born in Samoa in the South Pacific and brought up in Wellington, New Zealand, Monica’s CV was spotted by Michel Roux Jr who promptly offered her a job at his two-star Michelin restaurant, Le Gavroche. She worked with her mentor for over ten years, meeting husband David Galetti, the then sommelier at the restaurant before opening Mere, their first restaurant together. Mere was rated in the top 10 best restaurants at the 2019 National Restaurant Awards.

What inspired you to first become a chef?
It’s all I wanted to do. I loved cooking from a young age and it’s something I did a lot with my family.

Did you experience much sexism in the industry as you climbed the kitchen ladder?
For me, once you had a chef jacket on, you were a chef and just wanted to be as good if not better than the chef cooking next to you

Opening your own restaurant Mere must have been a dream come true?
Absolutely, it was always my goal after all the years of hard graft.

How is it working with your husband every day?
It’s amazing, 99.8% of the time. I trust David to watch over the kitchen and the restaurant when I am not there and vice versa.

What’s it like working on Masterchef, The Professionals?
I find it exciting when we discover new talents in our industry – chefs you know going to make a big splash in the future. I’ve known the crew of people who work behind the scenes for 12 years now, so they’ve become like family.

Signature dish?
I have a few, but one of my favourites has got to be my Hokey Pokey chocolate dessert.

Favourite ingredient?
I’ve got too many to choose just one, but hand dived scallops are pretty high on the list.

Kitchen soundtrack?
My singing, of course! And. if they’re really lucky, I might show them a dance move or two.

You’re one of the judges on the S Pellegrino Young Chef Competition, tell us more.
Yes, I am. It’s a great opportunity for me to see and meet some of the young talent and hopefully discover a future star. They’re from all over the UK and North Europe, working in some of our top kitchens, so it is exciting to see what level they’re cooking at and to choose the best to represent us in the global final in Milan.

Words of wisdom to your younger self?
No matter how tough it is, it will work out itself.

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