MasterChef star of 14 years makes show return after break left her in tears

Monica Galetti is set to return to MasterChef: The Professionals after making the emotional decision to take time out from the show for a year.

For 14 years, the critically acclaimed chef had been a part of the judging panel, before taking a break to focus on her family and her restaurant, with Anna Haugh stepping in to replace her.

The latest batch of 32 ambitious chefs, drawn from kitchens across the UK, will be thrown into the pot to battle it out under the hawk-eyed gaze of judges Monica, Marcus Wareing, and Gregg Wallace.

Seven arduous weeks of challenges will see their culinary skills and mental fortitude put to the test before one lifts the coveted trophy.

In a recent interview, Monica, 48, spoke of her delight in returning to the fold, adding her excitement in finding the “next talents” in the chef world.

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“Joyful is the perfect word to describe it. It’s just wonderful to be back with friends, great friends, that I’ve known for many years now,” she told Press Association.

“I missed it. And I think, this time round, I just came back and just really enjoyed it. It was about enjoying being back – and of course, discovering the next talents.”

Delving into the quality of chefs on the series this year, Monica added how the women are surging in confidence and can’t wait to follow their journeys.

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“I think this year, for me, it was great to see the confidence of more women entering the competition,” she added. “It’s a big deal because, as we all know, every now and then they’ve not entered the show.

“And, of course, the journey for me is the biggest part that I love and that’s why I continue to come back year in and year out.

“It’s about watching them develop and supporting them on that journey, and they’re chefs that I always believe in, and when we choose the final three they really have something special, and I think again this year we did that.”

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Monica had been one of the judges on MasterChef: The Professionals from 2009 until last year, when she announced she would be stepping away from the series.

At the time, Monica explained she’d been left “in tears” but that “something had to give” as she was struggling to balance time between her family, restaurant, and filming commitments.

She also later revealed that her young nephew had been diagnosed with cancer.

MasterChef: The Professionals returns to BBC One on Monday October 23.

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