MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo has passed away suddenly at the age of 46. The chef died in Melbourne on Sunday. The official cause of his death has not been revealed yet. The news came just a few hours before the new season premiere of MasterChef, in which the chef was set to appear.
Zonfrillo began his kitchen career in the UK and worked in a number of restaurants across the world before settling down in Australia and opening his own restaurant. Read on to know more about his life and career.
MasterChef Australia Judge Jock Zonfrillo Passes Away at 46
Zonfrillo’s body was found by the police when they conducted a welfare check around 2 am on Monday. A Victoria Police spokesperson has confirmed that the case is not being considered as suspicious.
Zonfrillo’s family announced the news of his demise with a statement: “With completely shattered hearts and without knowing how we can possibly move through life without him, we are devastated to share that Jock passed away yesterday.”
“So many words can describe him, so many stories can be told, but at this time we’re too overwhelmed to put them into words. For those who crossed his path, became his mate, or were lucky enough to be his family, keep this proud Scot in your hearts when you have your next whisky.”
The 2023 season premiere of MasterChef Australia was set to premiere on Monday. Zonfrillo had shot for the episode along with chef Jamie Oliver. Network 10 has now confirmed that the episode will not be aired now.
Tributes Pour In for the Chef
Zonfrillo’s sudden death has sent shockwaves across the world, and a number of people have expressed their grief over the incident. Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay tweeted, “Saddened by the devastating news of Jock Zonfrillo’s passing. I truly enjoyed the time we spent together on MasterChef in Australia. Sending all my love to Lauren and the family in this difficult time.”
Jamie Oliver posted a picture from the sets of MasterChef and wrote, “I’m in total shock to wake up to the sudden death of chef Jock Zonfrillo. We had the best time working together for this years master chef, I can’t tell how good it was to work with him! Jock was very generous to me with his time and spirit in the show and for that I was really grateful.”
Zonfrillo Started Working at the Age of 13
Born in Scotland in 1976, Zonfrillo started working part-time as a dishwasher in restaurants at the age of 13. Two years later, he became an apprentice at the luxury Scottish resort, The Turnberry Hotel. He then worked at the Arkle Restaurant in Chester and for Michelin-starred British chef Marco Pierre White at Hyde Park Hotel.
While he was rising in his career, Zonfrillo also got addicted to heroin. However, he overcame the addiction and became the head chef at Cornwall’s Tresanton Hotel at the age of 22. The chef went on to open several restaurants in Australia, including Restaurant Orana, Nonna Mallozzi, and Bistro Blackwood.
Zonfrillo joined MasterChef Australia as a judge in 2019, along with Melissa Leong and Andy Allen. The trio replaced the original hosts of the show, Matt Preston, George Calombaris, and Gary Mehigan.
Our condolences to Jock Zonfrillo’s family and friends. May his soul rest in peace!