Why Monica Galetti has been replaced by Anna Haugh on BBC’s Masterchef: The Professionals this year

Galetti has been a judge on the BBC One show for 14 years - but has been replaced by Anna Haugh

Masterchef: The Professionals is back for another season with 32 chefs being put through their culinary paces under the watchful eye of expert judges. Over the next few weeks, contestants will be tasked with creating a variety of different dishes. The judges will start to eliminate chefs to find their 2022 winner.

The 15th season of the show kicked off on Wednesday (November 2) with Gregg Wallace and Marcus Wareing back in the Masterchef kitchen. However, there was notable absence with Monica Galetti missing from the show, being replaced by new judge Anna Haugh.

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The fan favourite will not be appearing in this series after revealing she is stepping down from the role but didn’t rule out a comeback in the future. "It is with a heavy heart that I’ve made this decision to step back from filming this year’s series of MasterChef: The Professionals," she said.

“My family need me, my restaurant needs me and trying to balance long filming days over the next three months with all these commitments meant that something had to give. So, for the moment, my focus has to be 100 percent about my loved ones and rebuilding my kitchen team who have had a battering over the last few months especially. Those in the hospitality industry know just how tough it is at the moment.

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    “To my MasterChef family, crew and friends, I’m so sorry that I won’t be with you this year but I hope to be back soon. Thank you to both BBC and Shine TV for being so understanding of my decision but for this year I’ll be your number one supporter from the side lines. To my fellow judges and friends Marcus and Gregg – I’ll be watching – you’ve got this! If you’re ever unsure just think – what would Mon do?! See you soon!”

    Her replacement, Anna Haugh is involved with Myrtle restaurant in Chelsea. MasterChef executive editor, David Ambler, said: "Anna brings a wealth of culinary expertise and experience to the competition, and we’re delighted to welcome her as a judge on MasterChef: The Professionals."