MasterChef Australia Judge Jock Zonfrillo Dies Unexpectedly at 46, Shocking Fans and Postponing Season Premiere

MasterChef Jock Zonfrillo, a renowned Scottish chef and judge on MasterChef Australia, passed away unexpectedly at age 46. His family shared the heartbreaking news: “With completely shattered hearts and without knowing how we can move through life without him, we are devastated to share that Jock passed away yesterday.

MasterChef Jock Zonfrillo Dies Unexpectedly at 46, Shocking Fans and Postponing Season Premiere
MasterChef Jock Zonfrillo MasterChef Jock Zonfrillo MasterChef Jock Zonfrillo MasterChef Jock Zonfrillo

For those who crossed his path, became his mate, or were lucky enough to be in his family, keep this proud Scot in your hearts when you next have a whisky.”The new season of MasterChef Australia, scheduled to air this week, has been postponed due to Zonfrillo’s sudden passing.

Network 10 and Endemol Shine Australia released a statement expressing their shock and sadness at the loss, describing Jock as a “beloved member” of the show’s family. Zonfrillo joined the MasterChef team in 2019 alongside Andy Allen and Melissa Long after the departure of Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris, and Matt Preston.

Despite concerns that the changes would impact ratings, the show has remained one of Australia’s top-performing reality competitions and has gained international success. Zonfrillo’s culinary journey began in Glasgow, Scotland, where he was born Barry Zonfrillo.

He worked as an apprentice in the kitchens of The Turnberry Hotel at just 15 years old before working under the renowned Marco-Pierre White. By the age of 22, he was named head chef at The Tresanston in the UK before moving to Sydney, Australia, to lead the kitchen at Restaurant 41, where he had previously worked for a year.

In 2013, Zonfrillo opened two restaurants of his own, Orana and Bistro Blackwood. Orana was named Australia’s Restaurant of the Year by two publications in 2018 and 2019. In 2018, Zonfrillo was named the Hottest Chef in Australia by The Australian newspaper.

However, despite his success, Zonfrillo put both restaurants into administration due to unpaid debts. In 2002, he was involved in an incident where he set fire to an apprentice chef, Martin Krammer, who had been working slowly. Zonfrillo claimed it was a practical joke gone wrong, but he was ordered to pay damages of A$75,000 ($50,000). In 2007, he declared bankruptcy after Krammer issued a creditors’ petition.

In 2021, Zonfrillo released a memoir, Last Shot, which contained some controversial chapters. His former mentor, Marco-Pierre White, claimed that “almost everything” Zonfrillo wrote about him was “untrue.” However, Zonfrillo defended his book, stating, “This is the story of my life.”

Zonfrillo is survived by his wife, Lauren Fried, and their four children. His unexpected passing has left the culinary industry and fans of MasterChef Australia in shock and mourning the loss of a talented and beloved chef.

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