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!
The house/flat I grew up in ... I had four brothers and a sister, and there was always a lot of family around, so the house was loud and lively. I'm from an island background; it's all about family.
When I was a child I wanted to ... fly – I was always jumping off the craziest things.
If I could change one thing about myself ... I would be one inch taller. I'm the shortest in the family.
You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at ... gardening. I have a little garden, and I quite enjoy fiddling about in it. I have a very small veggie patch, and I've been experimenting with growing different flowers – it's taken me three years to know what works!
You wouldn't know it but I'm no good at ... being told I've got a surprise in store. I have to know then and there where I'm going or what I'm doing – I cannot wait.
At night I dream of ... peace and quiet.
I wish I'd never worn ... When I was really young, I thought it was really cool to wear red and yellow bike pants with one red sock and one yellow sock.
What I see when I look in the mirror ... I see someone who's very content with life at the moment.
My favourite item of clothing ... The most precious item I have is my wedding dress.
My house is ... my haven; I can go there and be completely at peace.
My favourite work of art ... is by an artist called Sootaga. He was a New Zealand artist and a good friend of mine, and he was reaching a great part of his career when he had a heart attack at 32 and died. I have a wonderful piece by him – it shows a Samoan Kava bowl leaking coconut milk, and from the side you have a silver fern growing out of the leaking milk. It symbolises losing your culture when you go to a new country and take on a new way of life.
My favourite building ... are the Houses of Parliament at night when they're all lit up.
Movie heaven ... Chocolat, La Vita e Bella - those are my types of film.
A book that changed me ... The Bible. I read it from front to back when I was very young, and after reading it I decided I didn't need to go to church anymore – as long as I had the Bible in the house. And I still feel that, to my parents' horror.
The last album I bought/downloaded ... I downloaded "Short People" by Randy Newman last week. I was remembering an old friend who used to play it to me (hence why I wish I was one inch taller).
My greatest regret ... I try to live my life without regrets, but I guess I regret not travelling a bit more.
My secret crush ... Now that I don't have! But I do think Rafael Nadal is quite sexy.
The person who really makes me laugh ... is my four year old.
The last time I cried ... Last Saturday. A dear friend of mine who I hadn't seen for seven years was in London but between our schedules we only had five hours together. That was quite hard.
My five-year plan ... Ideally, in five years, my husband and I would have a restaurant of our own somewhere quiet, maybe in France or Australia.
My life in six words ... My life is full of surprises.
A life in brief
Monica Galetti was born in Samoa, and raised in New Zealand. She is senior sous chef for Michel Roux Jr at his two-Michelin-starred restaurant Le Gavroche, where she has worked for 10 years, and also appeared this autumn as a judge on Masterchef: The Professionals. She lives in London with her husband David, who is head sommelier at Le Gavroche, and their young daughter, Anais
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies