Born in Samoa and raised in Wellington, New Zealand, Monica developed an early interest in food as it’s a very important part of the Samoan culture and trained as a chef in New Zealand. In 1999 she upped-sticks and moved to London to work for Michel Roux Jr. at two Michelin-starred Le Gavroche.
After a total of twelve years at Le Gavroche, Monica left in 2015 to spend some time with her family and focus on finding the best site for her first restaurant in London, Mere which opened in 2017 in Fitzrovia. Mere, fittingly the name of Monica’s own mother, is a melting pot of cultural influences; mixing the classical French of her husband David’s childhood with the exotic South Pacific and New Zealand from her own upbringing, weaving in elements inspired by her travels around the world and the British seasons.
Over the past 13 years Monica has become a familiar television personality, as the inimitable presenter and judge on BBC2’s highly popular MasterChef: The Professionals. Monica has also gone on to co-present three series of BBC2’s Amazing Hotels, alongside The Times restaurant critic, Giles Coren.