London - Tempers in top restaurants’ kitchens can become as heated as the ovens, but "MasterChef" star Monica Galetti has revealed that she suffered racial comments when she worked at Michel Roux Jnr’s celebrated Le Gavroche.
Samoa-born Galetti, who is a judge on "MasterChef: The Professionals", claims she was called offensive names by colleagues when she first worked as a commis chef at the two Michelin-starred dining room in Mayfair.
Newly arrived from Down Under, Monica accepted a job at Le Gavroche at a lower level than she’d been used to. She recalls: "Coming from New Zealand, where there’s lot of brown faces everywhere, it was weird to get to the UK and be referred to as coloured."
She adds: "I mean, I’d be in the kitchen and someone would say, 'Oh, yes, ask the black girl on the fish,' and I’d be like, 'Who are you calling black?' So it was a huge adjustment."
Galetti, 43, eventually worked her way up to become senior sous-chef - the first woman to hold such a lofty position. Le Gavroche is run by Roux, who was a "MasterChef" judge until 2014. Galetti now owns her own eatery, Mere, and tries to produce tough, female chefs.