Masterchef returns but who’s in charge? Marcus or Monica?

Life after Michel Roux (and #potatogate) begins with focus on ‘the original mean girl’

“When I met Michel (Roux) as a young chef I thought he was just mean, but then I realised, if he’s hard on you it’s because he believes you can do better ... that’s the mentality I take with my team, I’m hard on them because I want them to do better and I want them to achieve.”

Never mind chef Michel, Monica Galetti is the original mean girl.

Galetti is back at the hob and ready to grimace her way through every culinary disaster the contestants cook up on Masterchef: The Professionals, which is back for its seventh series tonight on BBC2 at 8pm.

Michel Roux's controversial departure from the show (#potatogate) has been well-documented. Roux Jnr is no more, however dancing greengrocer Gregg Wallace has samba-bounced his way back from his disastrous showing on Strictly Come Dancing.


“He’s not going to win any prizes for his dancing prowess, but bless him for having a go,” said Galetti of the professional pudding muncher.

So Galetti’s good cop, bad cop routine with the affable Roux has come to an end.

Marcus Wareing, the double Michelin-starred super chef, has been drafted in.

He brings with him a reputation for tough love. Actually scratch the “love”. “Tough” will suffice.

Most famous (apart from the fancy stars bit) for provoking a Great British Menu contestant to down tools and walk out in 2012, Wareing indulges in the kind of bluntness that he would never tolerate from his knives.

Whether the bad cop/bad cop routine will work for this year’s Masterchef has yet to be seen.

Maybe Monica will mellow.

Let’s hope not, though.

Monica has steadfastly bucked those girlie tendencies to suck chocolate seductively from spoons. She refuses to reject the title “chef” for the alternative soubriquet “cook”. (Yes, Nigella, we’re talking about you.)

Billed as a senior sous chef by the two-Michelin-starred Le Gavroche, Galetti was born in Samoa, raised in New Zealand and once had former England rugby captain Martin Johnson in a head lock. After that revelation, one might think the All Black fan can make as many sour faces as she likes.

She has a sommelier husband and an eight-year-old daughter, Anais, who gives her fashion advice.

The girlieness ends there, however. Monica knows how hot it can get in a professional kitchen.

“You do get some girls who aren’t so keen to face off against the masculine banter and you do have to take it on the chin,” she told the Guardian last year.

“I’ve never seen it as an issue being in the minority. If you’ve got a chef’s jacket on then it’s fair game and it’s all out there for anyone to get.”

The lady is not for turning. Tonight she is supervising something happening to quail. Marcus Wareing will be at the helm. But we know who’s really in charge.

Masterchef: the Professionals, is on BBC2 on Tuesday and Wednesday at 8pm

Anthea McTeirnan

Anthea McTeirnan

Anthea McTeirnan is an Irish Times journalist