By: Mohnish Singh
Jock Zonfrillo, judge on MasterChef Australia, celebrity chef, and author, has died. He was 46.
In a statement shared on his official Instagram account, Zonfrillo’s family said the Scottish restaurateur died in Melbourne on Sunday. “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 family said in the statement.
“We implore you to please let us grieve privately as we find a way to navigate through this and find space on the other side to celebrate our irreplaceable husband, father, brother, son, and friend,” they added.
Zonfrillo is survived by his third wife, Lauren Fried, and his four children. No cause of death was given.
In 2019, Zonfrillo became a judge on MasterChef Australia, along with Melissa Leong and Andy Allen, stepping in for the long-running cookery competition show’s original hosts Matt Preston, George Calombaris, and Gary Mehigan.
In a statement, the official Twitter page of MasterChef Australia said the new season of the series which was due to premiere on Monday night will not air this week.
“Network 10 and Endemol Shine Australia are deeply shocked and saddened at the sudden loss of Jock Zonfrillo, a beloved member of the MasterChef Australia family. Jock passed away in Melbourne yesterday. MasterChef Australia will not air this week,” the makers of the show said.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1976, Zonfrillo started his career in the kitchen in London, UK, where he worked under veteran chef Marco Pierre White, whom he later credited with saving his life.
In his 2021 memoir Last Shot, Zonfrillo wrote he had tried heroin as a teenager in Glasgow and drug addiction followed him for years as he built on his early success.
In 1999, he moved to Australia and established himself as the head chef at Restaurant 41 in Sydney, according to news website CNN.
Zonfrillo later opened his own fine dining outlet, Restaurant Orana in Adelaide, which won culinary accolades in 2019 and 2020 before its closure. Colleagues such as Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay paid rich tributes to Zonfrillo.
Indian chef Ranveer Brar shared the news article of Zonfrillo’s death on his Instagram Story with a heartbreak emoji.
Indian actress Jennifer Winget, who collaborated with the chef quite a few times, took to social media to mourn his demise.
She wrote, “First, simply a fan from afar, then how blessed to have our paths crossed. To have known you; learned from and shared in your craft, culture and cuisine. From slightly closed quarters, will forever be life’s cherished memory. Shocked and saddened with the rest of the world. Still coming to terms with it all. My heart is with your beautiful family during this difficult time. You lived large. Your life, like your recipes all from the heart. Now rest in love dearest Jock as we make a meal of all the memories you leave us with.”
The actress also shared a video from her earlier live conversation with the MasterChef Australia judge, “100%, I have enjoyed this so much today. I am really thankful to you for thinking of me to do this together. I want to learn more dishes from you and even teach you some dishes coming from my culture.”
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