A Cook Abroad episode 4 – Monica Galetti’s France: MasterChef judge Monica Galetti steps outside her comfort zone as she swaps her chef’s whites for wellies and heads for the Jura Mountains in eastern France to get hands-on with the produce she uses every day in the London restaurant where she works.
Monica embarks on a road trip through one of the most beautiful yet least known regions in France, where, for the first time in her cooking career, she spends time with producers. She sees for herself how their passion translates into world-class ingredients. Immersing herself in a traditional way of life, she joins a boar hunt and faces up to the responsibility of eating meat. From beauty contests for cows to cutting down trees, she unlocks the secret to making some of our favourite French cheeses and discovers an ancient profession she never knew existed.
Finally, on the slopes of Mont d’Or, Monica cooks up a rustic feast using ingredients she’s gathered herself, fulfilling a personal ambition to live off the land.
A Cook Abroad episode 4 – Monica Galetti’s France
Monica Galetti is a Samoan-born New Zealand chef. She is a former judge on the BBC competitive cooking programme MasterChef: The Professionals and chef proprietor of Mere in London. She was senior sous-chef at Le Gavroche in London. As well as appearing as a judge on MasterChef: The Professionals from 2009 to 2022 she has presented Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby with Giles Coren since 2017.
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. 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.
While working for Roux, she launched and was Head Chef of the restaurant Le Gavroche des Tropiques in Mauritius. She was a judge on the BBC series MasterChef: The Professionals from 2009 to 2022 and has appeared as a presenter on other food-related television programmes. 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.
Galetti serves as a UK Tourism Ambassador for Samoa. She appeared in the BBC’s radio programme Desert Island Discs on 31 January 2021. In 2022, Galetti was named as one of the judges for the Platinum Pudding, a competition to create a British pudding to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.