Monica Galetti

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Monica Galetti
Michel Roux Jr at MasterChef Live 2009 (4108240803).jpg
Monica Galetti (left) assisting Michel Roux Jr. while Olly Smith narrates MasterChef Live 2009
Monica Faʻafiti

(1975-08-26) August 26, 1975 (age 45)
Spouse(s)David Galetti

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.[1] She was senior sous-chef at the prestigious Le Gavroche restaurant in London. Galetti has been a judge on the BBC competitive cooking programme MasterChef: The Professionals since 2009 and has presented Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby with Giles Coren since 2017.

Early life[edit]

Galetti was born in Samoa, and was initially raised by two aunts as her mother had moved to Auckland, New Zealand, for work.[2] At the age of eight, Galetti moved from Samoa to Wellington, New Zealand, and lived there with her parents and five siblings.[3][4][5] In the early 1990s she studied for a diploma in hospitality at the Central Institute of Technology, Upper Hutt.[5]


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.[5] 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.[6][7][8] She was the first woman to hold such a senior position at the restaurant.[5]

While working for Roux, she launched, and was Head Chef of, the restaurant Le Gavroche des Tropiques in Mauritius.[9]

She has been a judge on the BBC series MasterChef: The Professionals since 2009, as well as a presenter on other food-related television programmes.[10]

In 2017, along with her husband David, she opened a new restaurant in London called Mere. This was achieved with backing from Westbury Street Holdings chairman Alastair Storey.[11]

Galetti serves as a UK Tourism Ambassador for Samoa.[1] She appeared in the BBC’s radio programme Desert Island Discs on 31 January 2021.[12]


  • Galetti, Monica (2012), Monica's Kitchen, Quadrille Publishing, ISBN 978-1849491037[13]

Personal life[edit]

In 2004, Galetti married French-born sommelier David Galetti, the Head Sommelier at Le Gavroche.[14] They have one daughter, born in 2006.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Chef Monica Galetti – MasterChef Elite". Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Kiwi chef: Moving from Samoa to NZ was the saddest time of my life". The New Zealand Herald. 17 June 2014. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  3. ^ "My Secret Life: Monica Galetti, chef, 35". The Independent. 13 November 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  4. ^ "Chef Monica Galetti on Samoa, Sean Connery, and her life in travel | Loop Samoa". 21 November 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Jewell, Stephen (26 March 2011). "Monica Galetti: Kitchen mistress". The New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Le Gavroche – The Team". Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  7. ^ Rayner, Jay (22 January 2011). "Michel Roux Jr and Monica Galetti: master and protege". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  8. ^ "MasterChef's Monica Galetti leaves Le Gavroche". 20 March 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Strictly come cooking with Masterchef's Monica Galetti". London Evening Standard. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  10. ^ BBC Two – MasterChef: The Professionals – Episode guide
  11. ^ "Monica Galetti to open Mere in January 2017". 7 October 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  12. ^ "Desert Island Discs: Monica Galetti, chef and restaurateur". BBC News Online. 31 January 2021. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  13. ^ "Chef live chat: Monica Galetti". The Guardian. 16 October 2012. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  14. ^ "The Team". Le Gavroche. Retrieved 8 December 2016.