MasterChef's Monica Galetti says it was motherhood that mellowed her

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

The recipes in Monica Galetti’s latest cookbook, collated from family favourites, are written with clarity, simplicity and concision. 

No tricky techniques, none of the fancy ingredients you might expect from a judge on the BBC’s MasterChef: The Professionals. Just food cooked with love, redolent of her Pacific island childhood.

Her late mum Mere’s Soy & Honey Chicken. Her dad Eric’s Samoan Banana Soup. Her daughter Anais’s Quick Chicken Curry. 

Lockdown gave me the time to perfect the recipes,’ she says. ‘I could make them with the family and say, “What do you think of this?” I sent them off to friends and asked, “Can you replicate this?” I was conscious of making them accessible. Sometimes what I do as a chef needs to be pared down.’

Indeed for most of Monica’s friends the recipes are a delight, pitched at just the right level to ensure success. Not for her friend Craig, however, who decided to attempt her Black Forest Cheesecake for his husband Prat’s birthday while Monica – constrained by lockdown – supplied step-by-step instructions over WhatsApp.

© Provided by Daily Mail (

‘Prat is a really good cook. Craig isn’t,’ she says. ‘I was giving him video tutorials. The mess he was making! Prat came home to find Craig fighting with the ingredients. He said, “Monica, he’s not testing any more of your recipes!”’ She roars with laughter.

The cheesecake is there for me to taste on the day Monica and I meet. It’s heavenly. ‘Have some. I’m a feeder,’ says Monica.

Later in the day she’ll be at her restaurant, Mere, in Fitzrovia, London, running her kitchen. She and husband David Galetti opened the restaurant, named after Monica’s mum (Mere is Samoan for Mary) in 2017, a couple of years after she died. ‘Mum had a form of blood cancer,’ she says. ‘She suffered for a long time.’ Her voice falters.

But it must have been a comfort that she knew about your success, I ask. ‘Yes, she was very proud. She lives on through me and my siblings [three brothers and a sister]. She sacrificed so we could have food on the table. Everything I do is a homage to her.’

Monica’s cooking draws much inspiration from Samoa, an island lush with fresh produce, where she spent her early childhood raised by two aunts. Meanwhile her mum went to New Zealand to work in telecommunications, taking Monica’s older brothers. Monica was eight when she and her sister joined her mum and Eric, a mechanic, in Auckland.

We’re so busy in the restaurant I only see David on CCTV! 

Although restaurant bookings are abundant post-lockdown, Monica says a perfect storm of Covid and Brexit has made recruiting new staff a ‘dire’ problem. 

‘Most of my old crew are still with me but we need a few new people and post-Brexit they have to jump so many hurdles. A sommelier went home to Portugal during lockdown and can’t get back without a visa. There’s a dire shortage in hospitality. People are pinching each other’s staff and outbidding everyone on salaries, offering pay way above their experience level.’

She and David work so hard that, even though they’re in the same restaurant, they barely see each other. 

‘It can be tough,’ she says. ‘David will cover reception, take orders or he’s sommelier. But at least I know he’s there. If I can’t find him I just look on the CCTV. And it’s nice to have someone to go home with at the end of the night.’

I wonder if Anais, 14, has inherited her mum’s love of cooking. ‘I have to drag her into the kitchen to help me but we’ll cook, chat, listen to music, and she really enjoys it. She doesn’t want to be a chef, though. I know how tough it is – the long, antisocial hours. I’m not blind to the sacrifices I’ve had to make to get to where I am now, and I’m OK about her not wanting to.’

Monica trained in New Zealand and ended up at Le Gavroche in London where she met David, then the head sommelier, who she married in 2004. 

When I ask her to elaborate on the sacrifices she made she says, ‘I put everything else second for a long time. You miss out on family times, get-togethers with friends. I left pretty much everyone behind in New Zealand to pursue my career and I could have had so much more time with my daughter if I hadn’t been working so hard. In fact I could have had another child – but I overthought it for the sake of chasing my career. Thankfully nowadays the hours aren’t so mad.’

Aside from MasterChef, Monica has also co-presented Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond The Lobby with Giles Coren since 2017. They make a convivial duo, yet in her early TV appearances she earned a reputation as a martinet – stern, eye-rolling, uncompromising. 

Now, she agrees, she’s softened. ‘I enjoy it more now and I’ve relaxed into it. I was the hard chef at the beginning but I bite my tongue a lot more now – you should see the marks on the inside of my cheeks!’ she jokes. 

‘I realise the chefs are so nervous. They’re stepping out of their comfort zones. It’s TV and they’ve never done that before. I think being a mother has also brought out the more caring side of me.’ In her restaurant, too, she never throws tantrums. ‘Why shout? I like a happy and fun team.’

She includes in her book recipes from talented friends and her French in-laws. ‘They’ve just arrived from Jura. It’s the first time I’ve seen them since last February. It’s so nice for Anais and Nany might make a batch of her legendary Courgette Soup.’

Papy’s Tomato Tart – with ready-made puff pastry – is another favourite featured in At Home. So it’s OK to cheat on the pastry? ‘Absolutely! You’re at home!’ she cries. 

‘Memories are made from the food you share and when someone else has cooked for you it means so much. It doesn’t matter how simple it is. It’s just a big deal that they’ve gone to the trouble.’ 

At Home: My Favourite Recipes For Family And Friends by Monica Galetti is published by Aster, £20.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


Sandile Shezi: SA's youngest millionaire arrested for R500 000 fraud

© Provided by The South African South African Police Service (SAPS) has arrested Sandile Shezi after the Bitcoin trader become a wanted man for various fraud charges. The 23-year-old is ... Read more »

Digital Vibes saga: SIU to oppose Mkhize's review application

© Provided by eNCA PRETORIA – The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has until 9 November to file opposing papers in former health minister Zweli Mkhize’s review application. The minister wants ... Read more »

Eight men busted in Nigerian 'romance scams' to appear in Cape Town Magistrates Court

© Provided by Cape Argus Cape Town – Eight leaders of a transnational syndicate are expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court today, for allegedly preying on victims, ... Read more »

Leo: Your finance horoscope - October 21

© Astrofame Leo Your mental powers should be especially acute today. Your mind will be quick and receptive, and your communication abilities exceptionally sharp. You feel on top of the ... Read more »

Protesters had weapons, threw urine at officers during Kalamazoo encampment closure

Police said a woman arrested while protesting the closure of a Kalamazoo homeless encampment hit a police officer over the head with a flag pole and pepper sprayed a second ... Read more »

False media rumours of Tutu's passing resurface

© Provided by Independent Online (IOL) Cape Town – Social media tweets are once again circulating claims of the passing of the Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, however The Desmond & ... Read more »

Disabled woman accuses McDonald's of discrimination after order 'rejected'

A disabled woman claims McDonald’s staff discriminated against her when she tried to order a chicken nugget Happy Meal. Lynne Holman alleges her order at the drive-thru window in Loughborough ... Read more »

Could Cheslin Kolbe solve the Springboks flyhalf conundrum?

© Provided by Independent Online (IOL) Cape Town – This is not a late April Fools’ Day joke: Cheslin Kolbe is a flyhalf option for the Springboks going forward. It’s ... Read more »

Seven Arsenal stars facing January axe with Edu tipped to clean house

© PA Images Edu in the stands at Premier League game between Burnley and Arsenal Arsenal chief Edu has been tipped to complete a piece of unfinished business and preside ... Read more »

Duduzile Zuma's ultimatum to voters: Choose Ramaphosa or the ANC

© Provided by Times Live This week, Zuma-Sambudla took a swipe at the ANC leadership under Ramaphosa, suggesting that the ruling party needed rescuing.  She said there was no way ... Read more »

Zendaya Just Won A Major Fashion Award, And It's Not Hard To See Why

© Vittorio Zunino Celotto – Getty Images It comes as no real surprise that Zendaya has been awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CDFA) Fashion Awards Fashion Icon. ... Read more »

Load shedding could put ANC's lights out after electricity delivery emerges as top factor

© Copyright (c) Daily Maverick , All Rights Reserved Daily Maverick readers have told us that load shedding will affect who they vote for. Electricity, power cuts and prices have ... Read more »

Mamelodi Sundowns off to flying start BUT still not as quick as Kaizer Chiefs!

© Provided by The South African Mamelodi Sundowns are off to a flying start in the defence of their DStv Premiership title after seven matches of the 2021/22 season. QUIZ ... Read more »

Cincálják, lazítják, vizezik a világ kormányai az ENSZ klímavédelmi tervezetét

© Technológia: A BBC a Greenpeace nevű környzetvédő szervezeten keresztül hozzájutott azokhoz a kommentárokhoz, amelyeket egyes kormányok biggyesztettek az ENSZ novemberre előkészített klímaügyi jelentéséhez. Novemberben Glasgowban klímacsúcsot szerveznek, ahol ... Read more »

5 Fakta Menarik Parfum Legendaris Chanel No.5, Sudah Eksis Selama 100 Tahun Sejak Pertama Rilis!

© Disediakan oleh Beautynesia Parfum kerap menjadi bagian dari yang melengkapi penampilan. Memberikan impresi empat dimensi yang berbeda, parfum membawa kesan tidak terlupakan bagi mereka yang menghirupnya. Setiap notes dalam ... Read more »

Apellis (APLS) Gets CHMP Nod for Rare Blood Disorder Drug (Revised)

Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. APLS and its partner Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (Sobi) announced that the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (“CHMP”) has rendered a ... Read more »

Kris Jenner is helping Kim Kardashian communicate better with ex Kanye West

© AFP/Getty Images Kris Jenner is helping daughter Kim and Kanye Kim Kardashian and Kanye West may be getting divorced, but the pair are communicating better thanks to Kim’s mum ... Read more »

All-female W Series heads for 2021 finale with a tie at the top

© Provided by Independent Online (IOL) Austin, Texas – The all-female W Series ends its second season in Texas this weekend with Britons Alice Powell and Jamie Chadwick tied at ... Read more »

‘Lauda had lunch with Marko… Fires were put out there'

© PA Images Niki Lauda and Helmut Marko sitting at a table at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Malaysia March 2013. Jack Plooij thinks the influence of Niki Lauda was what ... Read more »

Stock up if you can! Bad harvest weather causes potato shortage in SA

© Provided by Independent Online (IOL) Would you like fries with that? Then you better start stocking up on potatoes. Potato crop damage due to cold and wet weather is ... Read more »

Centurion Rassie van der Dussen says Pakistan will be 'the real test' as Proteas prepare for #T20WorldCup

© Provided by Independent Online (IOL) Proteas centurion Rassie van der Dussen does not want to get too excited with the thrilling warm-up win over Pakistan because “the real test” ... Read more »

Polokwane kidnapping: 'How will the kidnappers deal with this pressure?'

© Provided by CapeTalk Kidnappings in South Africa has increased by 131% over the past decade Ransom and extortions make up about 5% of all kidnappings in the country; about ... Read more »

Cele: Task team probing KZN political violence has arrested over 200 suspects

© SA Police Service/Twitter. Police Minister Bheki Cele on 20 August 2021. DURBAN – Police Minister Bheki Cele said that the task team on political killings had so far arrested ... Read more »

Soweto protestors block roads with rocks, burning tyres over service delivery

© @EWNTraffic/Twitter SAPS and JMPD officers on the scene at a service delivery protest in Soweto on 21 October 2021. JOHANNESBURG – Soweto residents are using the last 10 days ... Read more »

As India Enters 100-Crore Covid Vaccine Club, Survey Finds 61% Ready to Take Third Shot if Available

© Provided by News18 As India Enters 100-Crore Covid Vaccine Club, Survey Finds 61% Ready to Take Third Shot if Available As India achieved the historic milestone of completing 1 ... Read more »

Covid Plan B measures ‘set to be rolled out in 20 UK hotspots within days'

SOME parts of England are set have Plan B rules introduced as coronavirus infections continue to rise, it has been claimed. It comes as Health Secretary Sajid Javid last night ... Read more »

[WATCH] Woman stopping skateboarder gives inspiring words pulls at heartstrings

© Provided by 702 Have you been wondering what’s been trending on the internet lately? Check out some of the top stories on What’s Gone Viral with Khabazela. RELATED: New ... Read more »

Lewis Hamilton hoping for an F1 title duel twist in Texas this weekend

© Provided by Independent Online (IOL) Austin, Texas – Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have traded the Formula One championship lead four times in six races and Sunday’s US Grand ... Read more »

Autopsy report and witness chats a comfort for grieving Otto family

© Provided by Times Live As taxi driver Bongumusa Wellington Ngcobo, 28, charged with drunk driving and the death of cyclist Alex Otto, prepares for his bail application on Thursday, ... Read more »

A year on, family and rights group demand answers over murder of mining activist Fikile Ntshangase

© Provided by Times Live On October 22 last year, Ntshangase was at home with her grandson in Ophondweni, northern KwaZulu-Natal, when three unknown men arrived and shot her dead ... Read more »

U.S. Backs Vaccine Mixes; India Hits Billion Doses: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — U.S. regulators approved the mixing of vaccines as they cleared boosters for the shots made by Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson. Most Read from Bloomberg Google’s Biggest ... Read more »

Ralani eyes City's goalscoring record

© Provided by SowetanLive After being made aware by Sowetan that he’s one goal shy of matching the club’s all-time goalscoring record, Cape Town City star Surprise Ralani has set ... Read more »

Thomas Tuchel loses Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner to injury against Malmo

© Provided by Independent Online (IOL) By Clare Lovell London – Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel had warned that his big names might be playing too much football and on Wednesday ... Read more »

Australian-born duo to make Test debuts for Japan

© PA Images Ben-Gunther-Sunwolves-Super-Rugby-2019-PA Ben Gunter and Jack Cornelsen will earn their first Japan Test caps against the Wallabies in Oita on Saturday, while another Australian product Dylan Riley has ... Read more »

No side effects yet as kids get their jabs

© Provided by SowetanLive From on Wednesday, SA opened up Covid-19 vaccinations to those between the ages of 12 and 17. Speaking to Sowetan at the Medicare vaccination site at ... Read more »

Hina Khan's Latest Post is All About The Importance of Mental Health Over Physical Fitness | Read on

© KS Swati | Lifestyle Staff Hina Khan’s Latest Post is All About The Importance of Mental Health Over Physical Fitness. Picture Credits: Instagram (@realhinakhan) Mental health has gained ... Read more »

Behind bitcoin's ‘coming of age'

© Provided by Business Live $66,416.86. Or, as of this morning’s exchange rate, R960,713. Congratulations to those of you who have stuck by your bitcoins, through thick and thin, and ... Read more »

Warring Soweto taxi associations agree to 'ceasefire'

© Provided by eNCA JOHANNESBURG – The two warring Soweto taxi associations have again agreed to a ceasefire. But no peace deal has been signed just yet, according to the ... Read more »

Solskjaer snaps back at reporter; demands Ronaldo critics look and learn

© PA Images Man Utd manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer punching the air 2021 Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer snapped back after a reporter’s claim about his players, and urged ... Read more »

‘Vettel's values no longer match those of F1'

© PA Images Sebastian Vettel doing a track walk with his team at the Dutch Grand Prix. Netherlands September 2021 Timo Glock has said Sebastian Vettel’s values do not align ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic