MasterChef: The Professionals judge Monica Galetti has admitted she never watches the show because she used to suffer such bad panic attacks about the audience reaction to her.
Chef Galetti is usually thought to have a steely exterior on the BBC cooking contest, with many competitors worried about impressing her, but she told BBC Radio 4 that image of her was false.
She told Desert Island Discs that she was hurt about being labelled “nasty Monica” for her sometimes harsh comments to contestants.
Asked how she coped with online abuse from people watching her on MasterChef: The Professionals, she said: “I just stopped watching the show whenever it was out. It used to give me panic attacks knowing it was happening.”
She has held a judging role on the show since 2009, working alongside her boss and mentor Michel Roux Jr, but said that she had long since given up on tuning in.
Galetti said: “I remember some nights when the show would come on, I'd jump into bed with my daughter just, like, to shut it out.
“Eventually you harden up to it and you learn to ignore it. It's not a real judgment of who I am as a person, as a mother, as a chef. It's people with a pretty big keyboard and they have nothing else to spend their time on.”
During her Desert Island Discs episode, Galetti also spoke about the traumatic memory of being told her partner in New Zealand had died.
Telling how she had been called into boss Michel Roux Jr’s office at Le Gavroche restaurant to be given the news, she said she had smashed up his office.
Galetti explained: “It wasn't a good phone call. My partner at the time, who was back in New Zealand, had passed away overnight so I had to leave and go home.
“I remember I trashed Michel's office. I think I absolutely destroyed Michel's office.”
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