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30 Nov 2022

HRC Chef Ambassador Monica Galetti on talent, training and inspiring the next generation

HRC Chef Ambassador Monica Galetti on talent, training and inspiring the next generation

Earlier this year, HRC announced that acclaimed chef and restaurateur Monica Galetti would be the show's Chef Ambassador for 2023, taking part in a must-attend keynote session, supporting the event and recognising talented chefs in historic competition International Salon Culinaire. 

HRC caught up with Monica to learn more about her approaches to recruitment and retention, and what she looks for while judging chef dishes in competitions. 

Hi Monica, why have you decided to join HRC as Chef ambassador? 

It’s a brilliant thing to be a part of and it’s fantastic to be inspiring and supporting the next generation.  

How are you approaching staffing challenges in the industry?  

We've been through it in the six months before Christmas; I had chefs who’d been with me for a few years and they decided to move on. I was happy for them to do so, but it’s hard to find new talent.  

I employed young chefs and trained them up on how we want things done because we weren't seeing the skills we wanted. I employed three apprentices and they’re flourishing. We’re able to nurture them and their skills from the start of their career.  

It’s really difficult; the talent we used to get from Europe has dried up due to complications with the visa applications. It was tough enough after the pandemic that a lot of people in hospitality have decided to change careers, but now the new visa requirements are making that even more difficult.  

What can we do to support the next generation of chefs and make hospitality an aspirational place to work?  

Making sure that people have decent staff meals and days off. I’ve got a full team currently (touch wood). Young chefs have been drawn to high salaries and often they’ve had to sacrifice days off for that, but there was a point where the competitiveness of the salaries was making it hard to find talent.  

I’m all for chefs earning great money but you have to be able to back it up with skills. I’ve found employing younger chefs and apprentices and training them can be to our benefit compared to chefs applying for Chef De Partie roles who can’t fillet a fish or cook meat. It’s all about investing in their skills and training.  

What are some of the key trends or ingredients that are exciting you at the moment? 

I don’t follow trends, but as long as you’re excited by what you’re creating.  

Where do you find inspiration for new dishes?  

Food trends come and go, but for me respecting the season is very important and creating the flavours around that. I also get inspired from my travels around the world, particularly by the use of spices. 

How do you approach finding new suppliers for Mere? How important are issues such as sustainability? 

I have full approval of everything in my restaurant, from the lighting and the uniforms to the flowers outside the doors.  

Issues like sustainability aren’t new. It’s something that we’ve been aware of for the past ten years but it’s good that everyone is aware of it and trying to do what they can. Everyone is trying and can always do more to support it, from recycling to reducing plastic etc.  

Why do you think competitions like Salon Culinaire are important for chefs, and how do you approach judging food? 

Competing is great because it gives chefs a challenge and chance to gain confidence and inspiration, seeing what others are doing with the same ingredients. It’s exciting and the ones that do it well have great careers and new opportunities.  

From a judging perspective, everything is taken into consideration, from seasonality to the respect for the ingredients to how well it’s cooked, to the flavour combinations. And, importantly, it should be creative and exciting. 

Learn more about International Salon Culinaire, including information on entering, at

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