MasterChef judge Monica Galetti has left her job as senior sous chef at two-Michelin starred restaurant Le Gavroche.
The move comes 12 years after she started as a commis chef at the iconic London restaurant and precedes plans to pursue a new venture in London. She left Le Gavroche last week and is currently on holiday visiting family in her native New Zealand.
Galetti, who has been a judge on BBC series MasterChef: the Professionals since its second year, told The Caterer that the decision to leave was prompted by a major life event last year.
"Something happened in my family that was kind of the wake-up call I needed. Life was great and Michel makes it so hard to leave because it's so comfortable and such a great place to be. I loved it there.
"But when that happened with my family, it made me think that I hadn't yet achieved what I wanted. I still wanted to do more and I think my daughter, who's eight, is now at an age where she can cope a bit better."
Commenting on her plans for the future, the author of Monica's Kitchen said she was currently in discussions with a new business partner about a potential new restaurant.
"But it's still very early days," she stressed, "and too soon to talk about. It's exciting. I'm absolutely terrified, but it's a great opportunity."
As Galetti's boss as Le Gavroche, Michel Roux Jnr said he has "lovely memories" of the past 12 years.
"Monica is passionate, highly skilful and driven - all qualities which helped her succeed at Le Gavroche. Wherever she goes, I will always be there for her."
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