One of the best-known and most highly renowned female chefs in London, Monica Galetti was born in Samoa but raised in New Zealand, first in Auckland and then in Wellington.
Her passion for food started at an early age and was influenced by her exotic South Pacific roots. She earned her diploma in hospitality in the early 1990s, where she studied at the Central Institute of Technology.
After completing her studies, she trained under Lower Hutt in his restaurant Timothy's in Wellington. Seeing her potential for greatness, Hutt encouraged her to join cooking competitions in Australia, America, and Europe.
In 1999, Galetti moved to London to work for Michel Roux Jr. at his two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Gavroche. Despite her previous position at Timothy’s as chef de partie, she began working for Roux as first commis. However, she quickly earned her position as sous chef at Le Gavroche and became the first woman to hold such a senior position at the restaurant.
In 2005, Monica became head chef at another restaurant owned by Michel Roux Jr.: Le Gavroche des Tropiques in Mauritius. She worked for Roux’s Le Gavroche restaurants for a total of twelve years until she left in 2015.
In 2017, after taking a short hiatus to focus on her family, Monica opened her first restaurant in London, called Mere, together with her husband, French-born sommelier David Galetti.
Named after Monica’s mother, this restaurant is a melting pot of cultural influences. Inspired by food from both her and her husband’s childhood, Mere’s cuisine is a diverse and delicious mix of classical French cuisine with exotic South Pacific flavors and New Zealand-styled cooking.
Aside from being a master chef and a successful restaurateur, Galetti is currently author of two books, Monica’s Kitchen and The Skills.
Nowadays, Galetti is also a beloved television personality, working as a presenter and judge on BBC2’s popular cooking show MasterChef: The Professionals.
Alongside The Times restaurant critic, Giles Coren, Galetti has also co-hosted two series of BBC2’s documentary television series Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby.