As part of the lead-up to the HSBC Women’s Champion 2016, we will be doing a special 3-part interview series with individuals coming down to Singapore for the tournament. The second of the 3 in the series is the chef extraordinare, Monica Galetti.
For fans of the Masterchef: The Professionals series, this next person is no stranger to you. Samoa-born New Zealand masterchef Monica Galetti has been a judge on the hit reality cooking competition since 2009. Her high culinary standards and expectations of contestants have given rise to her “russian judge” moniker. Few who have watched the show can disagree. Yet, as we found out talking to her, her seemingly no-nonsense demeanour occurs only in the kitchen.
(Photo Credits: Monica Galetti)
The former sous-chef of two Michelin starred Le Gavorche, whose kitchens have borne witness to the likes of Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay, will be here in Singapore for the very first time as a guest chef for the HSBC Women’s Champion culinary portion. Chef Galetti will be preparing items inspired by dishes from her new restaurant, Mere, from a special pop-up food booth at the Sentosa Golf Club Tournament village exclusively for tournament-goers. Unlike most celebrity chefs, the food at the pop-up booth will be available at $10 or less per menu item, which is by far more than affordable for this standard of cuisine*.
However, deciding on the menu did not come easy for the new restauranteur. The traditionally restaurant-based chef confessed that it was “tough to create a menu in a sort of kitchen space we had”, making reference to the challenge of preparing food in unconventional setting of a golf course. Moreover Mere’s european style menu made sourcing for ingredients in Singapore’s geographical region challenging, which prompted several revisions to the menu. But, rest assured, the masterchef promises “delicious food that looks stunning”, something we are definitely looking forward to.
As for what to expect of the chef, she’s professes that she’s not really like that all the time. The supposed tough persona on TV is simply her personality in the kitchen: professional. She admits she’s intentionally tough on chefs in order to maintain a high culinary standard, something she had gone through having worked in kitchens whole life. Yet, when we caught up with Monica without her apron, the conversation was light-hearted and easy going. Her down-to earth personality and jovial responses have us convinced she most certainly isn’t your typical “atas” french chef. In fact, the award-winning culinary genius considers her MasterChef: The Professional contestants “excitement for cooking” one of her personal inspiration to continue to grow as a chef.
The London-based Galetti’s trip to Singapore will also be her first time here, something which she is extremely excited about. On the top of the list, as you can already guess, is food. “I’m so excited to get out and try the local food. I want a decent laksa!” confessed the food lover. During her time here, she also looks forward to trying both the best street food and selections from fellow local contemporaries, Andres, Iggy’s and Neon Pidgin.
As to whether the soon-to-be head chef has any of her own plans to open a restaurant here in Singapore, it seems that we might have to wait a while as her main focus is on her new cookbook and Mere’s opening later this year. “It would be a dream come true if it happens” but for now you’ll just have to head on down to HSBC Women’s Champion to see what the delectable excitement is all about.
Monica Galetti will also be doing a special one-night only dinner at Mikuni at Fairmont Singapore. For more details click here.
*full menu of HSBC Women’s Champion 2016 Pop-up Booth.