Born in Samoa and raised in Wellington, Monica Galetti has made a name for herself in London. Not only is she a first-class chef, she is also a presenter and judge on BBC2's MasterChef.
Monica's Kitchen is her first solo cookbook. It promises exciting home cooking for all occasions and teaches simple methods to create fantastic-looking and tasty dishes.
The ingredients are mostly simple fare that everyday cooks would have easy access to.
Chapters include Work to Table (Mediterranean puff tart, pork chops with Asian cabbage), A Leisurely Weekend (creamed onion soup, olive, bacon and fennel cake) and A Time for Friends (crayfish and mango salad, stuffed chicken legs with pea ragout).
Some of these dishes may take a little time to prepare but the end result will be well worth the look on the faces of those lucky enough to be served them.
I asked Monica a few questions.
WHAT IS YOUR FIRST MEMORY OF FOOD?
Climbing a cocoa tree (make chocolate from it) and eating the fruit.
WHO WAS THE MAJOR INFLUENCE IN YOUR LOVE OF COOKING?
Michel and Albert Roux.
WHAT INGREDIENT COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COOKING GADGET?
IF YOU GO OUT TO A RESTAURANT WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO EAT?
IN THE COOKING WORLD WHO DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?
WHAT DISH DO YOU MOST LOVE TO COOK?
Grilled steak with salad.
WHAT DISH WOULD YOU MAKE FOR PRINCE WILLIAM AND KATE?
Raw fish, Samoan style!
WHAT DID YOU HAVE ON YOUR SANDWICHES WHEN YOU WENT TO SCHOOL?
Peanut butter and jam.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD/MOST HATED FOOD?
Favourite: Lobsters; hated: Okra.
Monica's Kitchen By Monica Galetti
Quadrille Publishing, $50