Monica Galetti isn’t one to shout or swear. If the TV chef wants to convey her displeasure, a simple raising of an eyebrow will suffice.
This week, the Samoan-born chef, who works at Michel Roux Jr’s London restaurant Le Gavroche, returns in a fifth series of MasterChef: The Professionals as she and Gregg Wallace help the exacting Roux Jr in his search for the next culinary superstar.
TV&Satellite Week magazine caught up with the 37-year-old to find out more…
We have a real mix of people this time… We have young chefs who have only been cooking for a couple of years and others who have been in the industry a long time. We also have pub chefs and even a forager.
I can always spot the contestants who just want to be celebrity chefs… There are always going to be some who think that they are going to become famous overnight. They don’t realise that the chefs like Michel and myself have served our time in kitchens.
I don’t mean to intimidate anyone… My persona comes across as scary, but it is a professional, full-on industry I am in. At the restaurant I’m responsible for up to 20 lads at a time. You can’t say to them, ‘If you don’t mind, when you are ready, could you give us that plate?’
Michel’s a hard taskmaster… He is not a shouty chef. If you manage to get him shouting, you know you have had a really bad day that you will remember for the rest of your life.
I’d love my own restaurant one day… It would have to be a small place in a village which was just mine and my husband’s with about 30 seats; nice, honest, great grub and at a decent price for everyone to enjoy.
As a kid I wanted to be a brain surgeon… I was great at biology and then the teen years hit. Cooking was always part of my culture, but I didn’t get into it until I was about 18.
I enjoy boxing training… I go three times a week. I recently took part in a charity bout and I’d never felt such anxiety. I can’t get it into my head that you have to hit someone for sport.
The new series of MasterChef: The Professionals begins on BBC2 on Monday, November 5 at 8.30pm