TV chef Monica Galetti has said she has chosen to step back from her role as a judge on MasterChef: The Professionals for her own mental health after finding she “cannot manage the balance”.
Galetti, 46, 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 initially announced her departure in April.
Speaking on the BBC’s The One Show, Galetti spoke about her reasons for stepping back from the show, saying: “I’ve only been able to commit time to the show for three months when my team are strong, and I can have the balance of family, the restaurant and all my other commitments.”
She added: “When I’m filming, people don’t realise I do a 12-hour day of filming, and then I will get back to the restaurant in the evening.
“But at the moment, things are just out of sync, things are tough at the moment.
“I’m trying to spend time with my family, I have an ill nephew that I try to get back to see and filming was all starting at the same time.”
Galetti, who owns and runs London restaurant Mere with her husband David, explained that her restaurant is also currently understaffed, which contributed to her decision to step down from her judging role.
“I’m short at the restaurant, I’m here tonight and straight after this I’m back in my kitchen.”
She continued: “I just found a cannot manage the balance this time, and I just knew that something had to give, I think for my own mental health as well.
“It was just getting very dark trying to give 100% to this and 100% to that, and sometimes you just can’t do it all.”
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 Mere, named after her mother.
Despite taking a step back from the MasterChef, Galetti will join Dame Mary Berry to help judge The Jubilee Pudding: 70 Years In The Baking.
The baking competition will see a celebratory dessert created by a member of the British public selected to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Recipes by five amateur bakers have been selected from nearly 5,000 entries from across the country as part of the competition between royal grocer Fortnum & Mason and the Big Jubilee Lunch.
The winning recipe will be revealed in The Jubilee Pudding: 70 Years In The Baking, on BBC One at 8pm on May 12.