Galetti, who judges the professional TV contest with Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing and former greengrocer and presenter Gregg Wallace, tweeted that she would “like to see more women chefs enter[ing]. I know you’re out there!”
Shelina Permalloo, cookery author and 2012 winner of MasterChef, the sister amateur show to the professional edition, also tweeted her encouragements, saying: “YES me too!! Go on ladies enter !!! [sic]”.
There are usually many more men than women in the competition, but women have managed to make their mark: Claire Lara from Liverpool won the third series in 2010, while Claire Hutchings from Birmingham made it to the final three in 2011, and Keri Moss took joint winner with Anton Piotrowski in 2012.
Otherwise, all other winners and finalists since the show’s beginning in 2008 have been male.
Last year’s winner was Gary Maclean from Glasgow. Mark Stinchcombe from Pershore won in 2015, and Jamie Scott from Arbroath took the top spot in 2014.
Entries for the 2017 programme close on 1 May. Professional chefs only are invited to apply via the show’s website.
The online application form asks varied career questions, including relevant qualifications, signature dishes, strengths and weaknesses in the kitchen, inspiration for becoming a chef, career ambitions, any Michelin-star kitchen experience, and the chef’s greatest challenge in life so far.
It also specifically asks if chefs will feel confident cooking under pressure in front of the TV cameras.
Galetti, with her husband David, has recently opened her first solo restaurant, Mere, in Bloomsbury. She was previously senior sous-chef at the Michelin-starred Michel Roux Jr restaurant, Le Gavroche.
Galetti’s comments come soon after Alain Roux, chef at the three-Michelin-starred Waterside Inn in Bray, also admitted he was ‘disappointed’ at the lack of female entrants in his family’s prestigious Roux Scholarship competition.
Luke Selby from Dabbous won the 2017 Scholarship from an all-male finalist line-up.
Sabrina Gidda, head chef at Bernardi’s in Marylebone, is one of only a handful of female chefs to take part in the contest, and she too has previously urged more female chefs to apply.