Born in Samoa, Monica’s early years were spent mostly on the South Pacific island with her siblings and aunts before moving to Wellington, New Zealand with her mother at the age of 8. Food was always a massive part of family life growing up, so it’s no surprise that Monica opted to study for a diploma in hospitality at Central Institute of Technology, Upper Hutt.
After graduating, Monica took up her first position as a chef in Lower Hutt restaurant Timothy’s where she worked as a Chef De Partie before travelling around the world, taking part in various cookery competitions.
In 1999 Monica made a bold decision to move to England and applied to various top restaurants in London. The first offer she received was from Michel Roux Jr at the two Michelin starred Le Gavroche as a First Commis – a role that Monica didn’t even know existed.
Monica worked tirelessly through the ranks to ultimately attain the position of Senior Sous-Chef. She was the first woman to hold such a senior position at the restaurant.
In 2004 Monica and her husband David Galetti launched Le Gavroche des Tropiques in Mauritius where she worked as Head Chef for 1 year before returning to London.
She became a household name in 2009 when she joined the team on MasterChef: The Professionals as a judge. Previously she held the position of Senior Sous Chef at Le Gavroche, before leaving in 2015 to pursue her venture.
She opened her first restaurant, Mere, in 2017 alongside her sommelier husband David Galetti.