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MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo dies aged 46

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MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo dies aged 46

MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo dies aged 46

Chef Jock Zonfrillo has died unexpectedly at the age of 46. The restaurateur has been a judge for Masterchef Australia for the past three years. Network 10 confirmed his death earlier today (1st May) hours before the cooking show was due to return for its fifteenth series, which has now been postponed.

“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.

“Throughout his career he worked with world famous chefs and in restaurants all over the world. His talent saw him shine in the world’s most formidable kitchens and he opened Bistro Blackwood and Restaurant Orana in Adelaide after moving to Australia.

“In 2019, Jock was named as a judge on MasterChef Australia in which he took great pride in challenging and coaching the contestants and of course inspiring a nation of home cooks.

“Jock’s charisma, wicked sense of humour, generosity, passion and love for food and his family cannot be measured. He will be greatly missed.”

Police found Zonfrillo dead after they conducted a welfare check at a house in Melbourne early on Monday morning. His death isn’t being treated as suspicious by Victoria Police.

A Glasgow native, he became one of the youngest-ever apprentices to work at Scotland’s luxury Turnberry Hotel resort at 15 years old. Later, in his teens, he worked at the famous Hyde Park Hotel under the tutelege of Marco Pierre White.

After his circumstances took a turn for the worse, including a drug addiction, he saw a move to Australia in 2000 as an opportunity to turn things around.

It was there that he opened his award-winning restaurant Orana in 2013. Although the restaurant folded in 2020, it enjoyed success for a number of years, including being recognised with the coveted distinction of three hats (the highest honour in Australia’s culinary scene).

In 2019, he was announced as one of the new judges on Masterchef Australia alongside Andy Allen and Melissa Leong.

A statement from Zonfrillo’s family read:

“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.

“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.”

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