Renowned Chef and MasterChef Australia Judge Jock Zonfrillo Passes Away at 46
Jock Zonfrillo, a beloved judge on MasterChef Australia, renowned chef, and author, has passed away at the age of 46. The Scottish-Australian chef’s family confirmed his death in Melbourne on Sunday, expressing their devastation at the loss of their “irreplaceable husband, father, brother, son, and friend.” The cause of death has not been disclosed, but a Victoria Police spokesperson confirmed that it is not being treated as suspicious.
Zonfrillo, who was born in Glasgow in 1976, began his culinary career as a dishwasher at the age of 13. He became one of the youngest apprentices at the Turnberry hotel after leaving school at 15. He later worked with celebrated British chef Marco Pierre White, and at the age of 22, became the head chef at Cornwall’s Tresanton hotel.
Zonfrillo relocated to Sydney in 2000, where he took the role of head chef at the Forty One restaurant. After a controversial firing in 2002, he moved to Adelaide and opened several successful restaurants, including Restaurant Orana, which earned multiple accolades.
Zonfrillo joined MasterChef Australia as a judge in 2019, along with Melissa Leong and Andy Allen, taking over for original hosts Matt Preston, George Calombaris, and Gary Mehigan. The new season of MasterChef Australia was supposed to launch on Monday night, however Network 10 has announced that it will not air this week.
Many former MasterChef contestants, celebrity chefs, and food critics have expressed their shock and sadness on social media. Jamie Oliver, who appeared as a guest on the opening episode of the new season, shared his disbelief and praised Zonfrillo’s generosity and spirit on Instagram.
Network 10 and production company Endemol Shine Australia issued a statement expressing “deep shock and sorrow” at the loss. Peter Newman, CEO of Endemol Shine Australia, highlighted Zonfrillo’s passion for food and the show, as well as his support for contestants, stating that he will be deeply missed.
Zonfrillo left behind his third wife, Lauren Fried, and his beloved four children.