Samoan-born New Zealand chef Monica Galetti is well known for putting fear into the hearts of MasterChef: The Professionals contestants for the last ten years. But outside of that, Monica Galetti keeps busy with her own kitchen as chef proprietor of Mere, writing cookbooks, and appearing on other TV shows. Before that, Monica had worked in some top kitchens, including the prestigious Michelin-starred institution Le Gavroche, quickly making a name for herself in the industry, and smashing boundaries as a female chef in senior positions.
Previous to achieving celebrity chef status in the UK, Monica studied hospitality in Wellington, New Zealand and gained employment at Lower Hutt restaurant, Timothy’s kitchen. As an accomplished chef de partie, Galetti soon began competing in cookery competitions and sending her CV abroad. She caught the attention of Michel Roux Jr, who gave her a position at his Michelin-starred restaurant. She took a position as first commis, well below her rank, but the risk paid off. Monica spent 15 years at Le Gavroche, learning under Michel, and working her way up to sous chef, and was the first woman to do so. She also launched and ran Le Gavroche des Tropiques in Mauritius, as head chef.
In addition to becoming an acclaimed chef, Galetti has written several cookery books on home cooking and kitchen skills, including Monica’s Kitchen, and has hosted TV shows such as Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby with Giles Coren. Since becoming a MasterChef judge in 2009, Galetti has had the chance to rub shoulders with some influential names in the industry; a couple years ago she received backing from WSH chairman Alastair Storey to open a restaurant.
Galetti opened restaurant Mere in 2017, which means mother in French and is coincidentally her mother’s name, with her husband David, a sommelier. The restaurant is located on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia, in the heartland of foodie London, and is inspired by their different culinary backgrounds. The two-story restaurant is a modern fusion of simple dishes from both countries, and is decorated with traditional Samoan artworks for a rustic vibe.
Monica Galetti restaurants
Wondering which restaurants chef Monica Galetti is famous for working at or has opened herself? Our guide to each one below has all of the answers.
Le Gavroche, Mayfair
Why: Le Gavroche (founded by the Roux brothers in 1967 and still run by the family) truly sets the standard for classical French cuisine, a gold standard in the world of fine dining. The establishment has seen many fine chefs such as Galetti make their names in the kitchens, providing no shortage of talent to create dishes such as double cream cheese soufflé, and stone bass with pastille and meat jus.
Where: 43 Upper Brook Street, W1K 7QR
Why: Mere blends traditional French cooking with flavours from the South Pacific to create an elegant, contemporary menu of butter-poached lobsters and roast pigeons, among a litany of great ingredients. This gold-rated restaurant, which also has a vegetarian tasting menu for the herbivores, is a prime destination for a relaxed fine dining experience.
Where: 74 Charlotte Street, W1T 4QH
Want to learn more about MasterChef: The Professionals? Why not check out our guide to Belcanto, the Michelin-starred Portuguese restaurant featured in the show.