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Citing timing issues, and needing to stay with her restaurant team, the judge will bow out for the foreseeable future.
“It is with a heavy heart that after 14yrs [sic] I’ve made this decision to step back from filming this year’s series of MasterChef: The Professionals,” said Galetti in an Instagram post yesterday.
“My family need me, my restaurant needs me and trying to balance long filming days over the next three months with all my commitments meant that something had to give.”
Galetti had been working with Roux since joining his restaurant Le Gavroche in 2003 as a commis chef. She quickly worked her way up, becoming senior sous-chef – the first woman to hold the position at the Michelin-starred restaurant – before announcing her departure in 2015.
For fans disappointed with the news, Galetti did however offer a glimmer of hope: “I’m so sorry that I won’t be with you this year but I hope to be back soon.”
“Those in the hospitality industry know just how tough it is at the moment,” she added, referencing the hardship the sector had faced in trying to recover from the effects of the pandemic.
Galetti opened her own restaurant, Mere, in 2017 with her sommelier husband David. She was also named as one of the eight judges of this year’s Platinum Pudding competition, in which bakers nationwide are invited to make a new pudding dedicated to the Queen.
Sarah Clay, the BBC’s 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."
MasterChef’s 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.”
Applications for MasterChef: The Professionals opened in February 2022 so there may be some time before the new series comes to our screens. Historically, the professional series is released in November.