August 26, 1975
Monica Galetti (née Faʻafiti, born August 1975) is a Samoan-born New Zealand chef. She is a judge on Masterchef and chef proprietor of Mere in London. She was senior sous-chef at the prestigious Le Gavroche restaurant in London. Galetti has been a judge on the BBC competitive cooking program MasterChef: The Professionals since 2009 and has presented Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby with Giles Coren since 2017.
Galetti was born in Samoa, and was initially raised by two aunts as her mother had moved to Auckland, New Zealand, for work. At the age of eight, Galetti moved from Samoa to Wellington, New Zealand, and lived there with her parents and five siblings. In the early 1990s, she studied for a diploma in hospitality at Central Institute of Technology, Upper Hutt.
After completing her studies, Galetti worked at Lower Hutt restaurant Timothy's. The owner sent her to cooking competitions in Australia, America and Europe, and she began to look for a position in London by sending her CV to top restaurateurs. The first offer she received was from Michel Roux Jr – a beginning position as first commis at his two-Michelin-starred restaurant Le Gavroche, well below her position in Wellington as chef de partie. However, she accepted the offer and moved to London in 1999. She worked rapidly through the sections of the kitchen and became senior sous-chef, a position she held until 2015. She was the first woman to hold such a senior position at the restaurant.
Galetti serves Samoa as its UK Tourism Ambassador.
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