News Masterchef The Professionals Final: Five facts about Monica Galetti

How much do we really know about Michel Roux Jr’s right hand woman?

Tequila time: harvesting agave in Mexico

Food Miles: Breaks where the heat isn’t just in the kitchen

The season of eating, drinking and making merry is upon us and that might even apply if you’ve jetted off on a sun-drenched winter break. Travellers are particularly well served by the rise of food-themed breaks, tours and packages, celebrity chef hotel residencies and cookery courses. 

Nigel Slater has been voted the UK’s favourite celebrity chef BBC

Prosecco, chorizo and Nigel Slater – what’s on Britain’s menu

The nation has a new favourite celebrity chef and more of us are cooking from scratch

Andy Murray buys £1.8m luxury hotel in Scotland

His brother Jamie married Colombian bride Alejandra Gutierrez at the venue in 2010

Credo: Monica Galetti, 37, chef

'Watching myself on TV, I cringe; it makes me feel sick'

Last Night's TV: Michel Roux's Service/BBC2<br />May the Best House Win/ITV1

For a lot of people who work front of house in the catering industry there's a reason it's called "waiting". They're waiting for someone to offer them a better job, whether it's on stage or screen, or just somewhere where your income isn't subject to the capricious generosity of your customers. But for Michel Roux Jr, chef-patron of the Michelin-starred Le Gavroche, waiting on tables isn't an economic stop-gap on the way to celebrity, it's a route to fame in itself. The eight young trainees he'd assembled to take part in Michel Roux's Service, he told us, could be "stars of the future" and the trade they were being trained in a key to great privileges. "Wonderful locations, great experiences, beautiful palaces, that is what this career can give you," he assured them. At every one of which, you'll have the opportunity to be treated like dirt by merchant bankers, I muttered at home, finding it a little difficult to get into the spirit of the thing.

At your service: Michel Roux Jr shares the secrets of Britain&rsquo;s top restaurants

No matter how fancy the food, a meal in a top-class restaurant can be ruined if the front-of-house staff aren't up to scratch. And in a new BBC series, three-starred chef Michel Roux Jr will teach a group of trainees exactly what that means

My Secret Life: Monica Galetti, chef, 35

My parents were ... very strict when I was younger. They were disciplined with homework, you had to do it straight away, and they were always striving to get the best out of me. Now, I appreciate that; at the time, you just think mum and dad are mean!

Stay the night: Greywalls, Gullane

Intimate Edwardian country charm comes with the latest modern luxuries, says Minty Clinch

Roux at Parliament Square RICS, Parliament Square, London SW1

There are tough times ahead, but Roux at Parliament Square is more classy coalition than culinary compromise

What to serve when the finest chefs in Britain come for dinner

Waterside Inn celebrates Michelin success with 25-course meal for culinary royalty

My Life In Travel: Michel Roux Jr, chef and TV presenter

'I love taking a canoe down the River Ard&egrave;che'

How do you make children eat healthily? Lock them in

School meals tsar wants children kept away from fast-food outlets

You Ask The Christmas Food And Drink Questions

Michel Roux Jr answers your Christmas Food and Drink questions including: What can I do with a surfeit of goose fat? Where do you stand on sausages in bacon? And what&rsquo;s a &lsquo;coherent plate of food&rsquo;?

Making lunch for a legend: John Walsh meets Albert Roux

It was an offer no foodie could refuse &ndash; to cook in the kitchen of Albert Roux. Could John Walsh's bavette steak pass muster with this titan of haute cuisine?

Just desserts as Wareing takes top pudding award

When Marcus Wareing became a chef he decided that his favourite childhood pudding made by his Lancastrian grandmother Emily was worth recreating for paying diners.

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

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Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

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Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
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Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

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It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
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Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015