Culinary veteran and MasterChef Australia presenter, Jock Zonfrillo, has died at the age of 46.
Zonfrillo’s death was first confirmed by his family, who revealed “our irreplaceable husband, father, brother, son, and friend” passed away this recent Sunday in Melbourne.
“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,” they expressed to the public.
“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.”
Soon after, Network 10 – which broadcasts MasterChef Australia – issued the following 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.
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.
Determined and talented and with plenty of grit, Jock was born in Glasgow to an Italian father and a Scottish mother, which meant his formative years were heavily influenced by two strong cultures and it was his obsession with food and desire for a new pushbike that at just 12 years old fuelled Jock to knock on kitchen doors looking for a job.
Jock’s love and passion for food saw him become one of the youngest culinary students to do an apprenticeship at The Turnberry Hotel at just 15 years of age. From that point onwards there was no holding him back and by 17 he was working alongside Marco Pierre White at his eponymous Restaurant Macro Pierre White.
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.
Jock’s Restaurant Orana was recognised with the coveted distinction of three hats in both 2019 and 2020 and he also received global accolades, accepting the prestigious Basque Culinary World Prize in 2018.
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.
Peter Newman, Endemol Shine Australia CEO, added: “On set, he was loved by the team and his passion for food and the show was infectious. He was also a brilliant champion for the contestants on MasterChef, always wanting the very best for them. He will be deeply missed by the entire MasterChef team. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”
Currently, the cause of Zonfrillo’s untimely passing has not been divulged. Out of respect for the man himself, MasterChef Australia‘s scheduled broadcast will not air this week.