Monica Galetti, 43, believes in training tough female chefs who can stand up for themselves. Picture: Instagram

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.

"My mum always told me to be strong, so I won’t let anyone walk over me," she declares. "All the women I employ are strong and independent, but you’ve got to give them the tools to be like that.

"When they leave me for another kitchen, they’ll be able to stand up for themselves."

A spokesperson for Le Gavroche declined to comment.

Daily Mail