6 Jul 2018

NZ celebrity chef Monica Galetti. Toast of London

From Nine To Noon, 10:06 am on 6 July 2018

Monica Galetti is a Samoan-born New Zealand chef who it seems the UK food scene just can't get enough of.

With a career as a chef already spanning 17 years in London, Galetti rose to fame in 2009 when she joined the BBC competitive cooking show Masterchef - The Professionals, as a judge.

Previously she had worked as senior sous chef at Michel Roux Jr's two Michelin starred restaurant Le Gavroche,

Galetti was the first woman to land a senior role there.

She has written two books, Monica's Kitchen and The Skills and co-presents Amazing Hotels.

She opened her own restaurant, Mere in central London last year with her French husband David Galetti.

Mere means mother in French and is Monica's mother's name, Mary in Samoan.

She told Kathryn Ryan her time working with Roux laid the foundations of her career in food.

“To me the foundations I learned were a focus on ingredients, respect for what we do and the people we work with.”

But times have changed in the industry, including the punishing hours she and many chefs like her worked in the '90s.

“It’s much more friendly now for chefs, the industry has had to adapt to suit. For example my chefs work four days only and have three days off.

“Times have changed, people don’t want to do those crazy hours anymore and restaurateurs have to adapt to that.”

She says London stole her heart when she arrived 20 years ago and she struggled when she returned briefly to New Zealand.

“The food scene in London is just fantastic, and the choice that you have here I think is second to none.”

What does it take to make it as a top flight restaurateur?

“It’s about care and attention to not just what you put on the plate, it’s the surrounding areas - how you prepare it, where you store it, what you serve it on, the people that touch the food - everything matters, you have to care about every detail.”