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A CULINARY JOURNEY

We chat to world-renowned chef, Monica Galetti, about how her Samoan heritage and love of travel has influenced the menu at her new London restaurant, Mere.

With more than 12 years in the kitchen at two-Michelin-starred restaurant Le Gavroche, MasterChef: The Professionals judge and world-renowned chef Monica Galetti has opened her very own restaurant, Mere, in the heart of London with her husband, sommelier David Galetti.

“The menu is made up of food I like to eat and cook,” says the Samoan-born chef. “The flavours I’m using in the kitchen are the main link to my roots. The dishes you find on the menu are my interpretations of things I may have eaten in Samoa, New Zealand or someplace else I’ve travelled.”

And travelled she has. Galetti grew up in New Zealand with her four siblings before moving to Europe to cook. In her recent BBC2 show, Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond The Lobby, Galetti and journalist Giles Coren travelled the globe exploring the areas of some of the world’s most luxurious hotels that the public don’t get to see. “I think the most incredible thing I’ve seen is a toss up between the Rainforest, seeing all the crazy butterflies and beautiful animals there, and a safari in Kenya,” recalls the chef. “But my favourite place to visit is New Zealand – I don’t get to go there enough.”

When it comes to travel essentials, Galetti is very clear about what she cannot leave without. “My hot sauce! I’m absolutely addicted to this hot sauce and everyone I’ve introduced it to loves it too,” she says. “I have a mini travel-size one and then carry a larger one in my suitcase.”

mere-restaurant.com

Here, in the spirit of food and travel, Galetti selects her top five restaurants around the world. Book your table now.

1. Eleven Madison Park, New York City, USA

A Contemporary American restaurant located in a high-ceilinged art deco space in the Flatiron District of NYC, run by Chef Daniel Humm.

elevenmadisonpark.com

2. El Celler De Can Roca, Girona, Spain

A world-renowned restaurant in Catalonia, Spain which was opened in 1986 by the Roca brothers, Joan, Josep and Jordi.

cellercanroca.com

3. The Crab Shack, Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand

A coastal-themed casual dining and drinking experience, which specialises in seafood with an emphasis on crab.

crabshack.co.nz

4. Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy

A three Michelin star restaurant nestled down a cobbled street in Modena, owned and run by chef Massimo Bottura.

osteriafrancescana.it

5. Relae, Copenhagen, Denmark

A casual top-level restaurant delivering a no-nonsense gastronomic experience and inventive dishes served in a smart, minimal space.

restaurant-relae.dk/en