Monica Galetti is taking a break from her role as a judge on the next series of Masterchef: The Professionals.

She has been part of the judging trio for the last 14 years, joining first with Michel Roux Jr and Gregg Wallace and then with Marcus Wareing from 2014.

It is understood that Galetti's commitments to her family and her restaurant have led to her decision.

In a statement, Galetti said: "It is with a heavy heart that I’ve made this decision to step back from filming this year’s series of MasterChef: The Professionals.

“My family need me, my restaurant needs me and trying to balance long filming days over the next three months with all these commitments meant that something had to give.

“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.

“Thank you to both BBC and Shine TV for being so understanding of my decision but for this year I’ll be your number one supporter from the side lines. To my fellow judges and friends Marcus and Gregg – I’ll be watching – you’ve got this! If you’re ever unsure just think – what would Mon do?! See you soon!”

Sarah Clay, Commissioning Editor for Entertainment at the BBC, says: “Monica is a valued member of the MasterChef family, and while we will miss her expertise and invaluable cooking and food knowledge, we fully support her filming break to focus on her family and business.

"We wish her luck and hope to see her back in the MasterChef kitchen in the future.”