Monica Galetti taking break from next season of MasterChef: The Professionals

The chef said she will be focusing on her loved ones and rebuilding her kitchen team but hopes to return to the TV cookery challenge.

TV chef Monica Galetti has announced she will be stepping back from her role as a judge on MasterChef: The Professionals for the next series of the BBC One show.

Galetti has been part of the judging panel for some 14 years, joining the initial line-up of Michel Roux Jr and Gregg Wallace, and then from 2014 with Marcus Wareing after Roux left.

She said: “It is with a heavy heart that I’ve made this decision to step back from filming this year’s series of MasterChef: The Professionals.

“My family need me, my restaurant needs me and trying to balance long filming days over the next three months with all these commitments meant that something had to give.

“So, for the moment, my focus has to be 100% about my loved ones and rebuilding my kitchen team who have had a battering over the last few months especially.

“Those in the hospitality industry know just how tough it is at the moment.

“To my MasterChef family, crew and friends, I’m so sorry that I won’t be with you this year but I hope to be back soon.”

She added: “Thank you to both BBC and Shine TV for being so understanding of my decision but for this year I’ll be your number one supporter from the side lines.

“To my fellow judges and friends Marcus and Gregg – I’ll be watching – you’ve got this! If you’re ever unsure just think – what would Mon do?! See you soon!”.

Sarah Clay, commissioning editor for entertainment said: “Monica is a valued member of the MasterChef family, and while we will miss her expertise and invaluable cooking and food knowledge, we fully support her filming break to focus on her family and business.

“We wish her luck and hope to see her back in the MasterChef kitchen in the future.”

The popular cooking series made the move from BBC Two to BBC One in 2020.

MasterChef executive editor, David Ambler, said: “Monica is one of the most talented chefs of her generation, we have worked together closely for the past 14 years and regard her as an integral member of the MasterChef family. Our hope is this situation is just for this season and the door is always open for her to return.”

Samoan-born Galetti trained as a chef in New Zealand and in 1999 made the move to London where she worked at Roux’s Michelin starred restaurant Le Gavroche.

She left Le Gavroche in 2015 and in 2017 opened her first restaurant Mere, in London, named after her mother.

Galetti has co-presented three series of BBC Two’s Amazing Hotels and has written several books, among them At Home, released last year.

Her replacement will be announced in due course.

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