MasterChef pulled off air after judge’s death
MasterChef will not air for a week after the death of celebrated chef and co-host Jock Zonfrillo at age 46.
Network 10 and his family made the announcement in a statement, declaring that the show would be postponed for a week due to his sudden death.
“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,” his family said in a statement on Monday.
“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.
“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.”
Mr Zonfrillo is survived by his wife Lauren Fried and his four children Ava, Sophie, Alfie and Isla.
Police are not treating the death as suspicious.
“Police attended a Lygon Street address for a welfare check and located a man deceased about 2am on May 1,” a Victoria Police spokesperson said.
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 Gx
— Gordon Ramsay (@GordonRamsay) May 1, 2023
“The 46-year-old man‘s death is not being treated as suspicious.”
Mr Zonfrillo had only posted on his own Instagram about the next season of MasterChef that was due to start on Monday, just hours before police would find him dead.
Network 10 also shared a statement.
“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,” the network said.
“Jock was known to Australians as a chef, best-selling author, philanthropist and MasterChef judge but he will be best remembered as a loving father, husband, brother and son.”
Mr Zonfrillo outlined his struggles with heroin addiction in his book ‘Last Shot’ which details his life story.
“Jock’s life spiralled out of control when he tried heroin for the first time as a teenager while growing up in 1980s Glasgow,” the book’s blurb reads.
Jock Zonfrillo, a host on 10's MasterChef Australia passed away in Melbourne yesterday aged 46.
The Scottish presenter and former chef joined the Channel 10 show in 2019, alongside Melissa Leong and Andy Allen.
He is survived by his wife Lauren Fried and his four children.
— 10 News First (@10NewsFirst) May 1, 2023
“For years he balanced a career as a rising star amongst legendary chefs with a crippling drug addiction that took him down many dark paths.
“On New Year’s Eve 1999, Jock shot up his last shot of heroin before boarding a plane to Sydney, where he would find passion and new meaning in life in the most unexpected places.
“There would be more struggles ahead, including two failed marriages, the closure of his prized restaurant during COVID-19, his time on-country, and some very public battles.”
The book was praised for its candour and Mr Zonfrillo was praised for his resilience by the world’s top chefs.
“I’ve known Jock for 25 years. He is not only a great mate but an incredibly talented chef - in Australia and around the world,” Matt Moran wrote about the book.
“Last Shot really shows how resilient Jock is and how far he has come in his personal and professional life. I’m inspired by how brave Jock has been for putting this biography out there.”
The renowned chef established himself in Australia as the head chef at Restaurant 41 in Sydney in 2000, before going on to open Restaurant Orana in 2013.
Restaurant Orana was named as Restaurant of the Year by Gourmet Traveller in 2018 and by the Good Food Guide in 2019.
He initially worked under renowned Michelin-starred chef Marco Pierre White.
“Zonfrillo climbed his way to the top of the gastronomic ladder only to abdicate his position. He still inspires chefs worldwide,” Mr Pierre White said about Mr Zonfrillo in 2022.
Mr Zonfrillo grew up in Glasgow to an Italian father and Scottish mother.
He began working in kitchens as a dishwasher part-time at the age of 13 before going on to leave school to start an apprenticeship in the kitchens of the Turnberry Hotel on the west coast of Scotland.
Jimmy Barnes was one of the first to pay tribute to his “dear friend”, saying it was a “very sad day” on social media.
“Jock was like a brother to me and we made each other laugh and cry. My heart goes out to his family. I am speechless,” he said.
Celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay also paid tribute to Mr Zonfrillo.
“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!” Jamie Oliver said on Instagram.
“Jock was very generous to me with his time and spirit in the show and for that I was really grateful…Mellisa, Andy & Jock work as the most inspiring judges and mentors and each have there very own unique view and style…Jock will be so very missed…I can’t believe I’m writing this...”
“Saddened by the devastating news of Jock Zonfrillo‘s passing,” Mr Ramsay said on Twitter.
“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.”
MasterChef contestants were also quick to share their saddness.
“Shocked and heartbroken ️RIP Jock, you will be sorely missed. My condolences to your beautiful family,” Emelia Jackson commented on the family’s statement.
“I’m so shocked… rest in peace chef, my heart and condolences to loved ones,” Reynold Poernomo said.
“I am literally in so much shock and hands are shaking. This is devastating news. I am so sad to hear this news,” Minoli Desilva commented.