At the time Monica explained she’d been left ‘in tears’ but that ‘something had to give’ as she was struggling to balance time between her family, restaurant and filming commitments.
She also later revealed that her young nephew had been diagnosed with cancer.
However, after a season away, Monica is now back again, and has said the break gave her a renewed appreciation for the production.
‘It feels wonderful to be back and I was very fortunate I could have the year out to focus on family, business and everything,’ she said.
Monica Galetti was relieved to be able to take a break from MasterChef (Picture: ITV)
‘Sometimes it’s hard to get that balance and everything working together and I needed to take that time out.
‘It was one less thing I had to do,’ she added while appearing on Oti Mabuse’s Breakfast Show on Saturday.
She continued: ‘Being back… it’s like a family…it was like coming back to seeing old friends and having the best time.
She appeared on the show for 14 years alongside Marcus Wareing and Gregg Wallace before stepping away (Picture: BBC/Shine TV)
‘After having that time out I appreciate it so much more.’
When announcing she had to step away from the show in April last year, Monica said the decision had been made ‘with a heavy heart’.
‘My family need me, my restaurant needs me and trying to balance long filming days over the next three months with all my commitments meant that something had to give,’ she wrote in a post on Instagram.
‘So, for the moment, my focus has to be 100% 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.
‘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. ‘
Last night the most recent season of the franchise wrapped up, with Go Compare opera singer Wynne Evans beating Love Island’s Luca Bish and Emmerdale actress Amy Walsh during the Celebrity MasterChef finale.
After winning the title, the performer said it was a ‘brilliant feeling’ and joked his kids would be surprised as all he usually cooked them was ‘beans on toast’.
MasterChef: The Professionals returns to BBC later this year. Oti Mabuse’s Breakfast Show airs Saturdays at 8.30am on ITV1.
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