MasterChef: The Professionals judge Monica Galetti announces she is taking a break from BBC show 

MasterChef: The Professionals judge Monica Galetti has announced that she is quitting her role as a judge on the BBC show.

The chef, 46, has been part of the judging trio for the last 14 years, joining first with Michel Roux Jr and Gregg Wallace and then with Marcus Wareing from 2014.

In a statement she said she was taking a step back from the TV role to focus on her family and her London restaurant. 

Off she goes: MasterChef: The Professionals judge Monica Galetti has announced that she is QUITTING her role as a judge on the BBC show after a 14 year stint

Monica is married to French-born sommelier David Galetti and shares a teenage daughter with him, Anaïs, now 14.  

Monica said in her statement: ‘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.

Talent: The chef, 46, (right) has been part of the judging trio for the last 14 years, joining first with Michel Roux Jr and Gregg Wallace (centre) and then with Marcus Wareing (left) from 2014

Talent: The chef, 46, (right) has been part of the judging trio for the last 14 years, joining first with Michel Roux Jr and Gregg Wallace (centre) and then with Marcus Wareing (left) from 2014

‘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 continued: ‘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.’

Busy: In a statement she said she was taking a step back from the TV role to focus on her family and her London restaurant (pictured with husband David at her eatery Mere in Fitzrovia)

Busy: In a statement she said she was taking a step back from the TV role to focus on her family and her London restaurant (pictured with husband David at her eatery Mere in Fitzrovia) 

David Ambler, Executive Editor, MasterChef, added: ‘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.’ 

Based on a format created by Franc Roddam, MasterChef sets out to find the best amateur cooks.

The format has enjoyed huge success globally, with 65 local versions to-date, more than 10,000 episodes and 500 series worldwide.

Long-running: Monica 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' (pictured on the first series)

Long-running: Monica 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’ (pictured on the first series)

There have been 18 series of the revamped version of MasterChef; 16 series of Celebrity MasterChef, 14 series of MasterChef: The Professionals and three series of Junior MasterChef. 

Last year Monica opened up about racism in the world of TV and food.

Speaking with Good Housekeeping, the chef insisted that she will always call out a racist – whether it is ‘straight-up racism’ or ‘ignorance’ – otherwise those guilty of it won’t learn.

Monica, who is Samoan-born and raised mostly in New Zealand, said: ‘I was at a dinner with a group of women once and I was laughing about something with a friend when a woman across the table said, ‘Oh, that’s what I love about you Asians – you just say it how it is.’ 

‘And I’ve been in a kitchen where someone has said, ‘I don’t know what that is; ask the black girl over there.’ And I’m like, ‘Are you talking about me?’

‘When no one says anything it carries on, so when I hear it happening – whether it’s to me or someone else – I call it out. We all have to.

‘I want other women of colour to know that it’s anyone’s for the taking. Yes, it’s going to be tough to stay strong in the beginning, but anyone can do what I’ve done,’ she told the publication. 

Monica spoke about finding her feet in TV – and how she was compared to the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Simon Cowell for being ‘mean’.

Presenter: As well as MasterChef she appeared on the BBC show Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby alongside Giles Coren (left)

Presenter: As well as MasterChef she appeared on the BBC show Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby alongside Giles Coren (left)

‘Television is a funny world,’ she mused. ‘At first, I found the feedback quite harsh; having people judge you and say you’re horrible is difficult.

‘I was being called the Simon Cowell of the cookery world and the female Gordon Ramsay. I mean, what? From all I knew, that was simply part of being a chef; it was the way we talked in the kitchen.

‘I’ve learned to be a bit more careful with my words since then, so people don’t actually believe I’m mean!’

Of her home life, Monica said: ‘That’s been the toughest part. Being a mum and keeping a foot in the top end of the industry has not been easy.

‘In the beginning, David and I split the childcare between us when one of us was at work, the other was at home, then we’d swap – but we hardly saw each other. Even then, I suffered from a lot of guilt.

‘Now that Anaïs is 13, she needs me less, but I have this constant fear that I only have a few more years before she’s going to want to go off and do her own thing.’

Heritage: Born in Samoa and raised in New Zealand, Monica developed an early interest in food - a very important part of the Samoan culture - and trained as a chef in New Zealand

Heritage: Born in Samoa and raised in New Zealand, Monica developed an early interest in food – a very important part of the Samoan culture – and trained as a chef in New Zealand

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