Jock Zonfrillo died at the age of 46. He was a judge on MasterChef Australia, a cook, and an author. On Monday, his family said that “our irreplaceable husband, father, brother, son, and friend” had died in Melbourne on Sunday.
No reason was given for the death. A spokesman for Victoria Police said that the end was not being looked at as suspicious. For the examiner, a report will be put together.
The new season of MasterChef Australia was supposed to start on Monday night, but Network 10 said that it wouldn’t happen this week.
In a statement, Zonfrillo’s family said, ”
“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.”
Jamie Oliver, a famous chef who was a guest on the first show of the next season of MasterChef Australia, wrote on Instagram that he was “in total shock.”
“We had the best time working together for this year’s MasterChef, I can’t tell how good it was to work with him!” Oliver wrote. “Jock was very generous to me with his time and spirit in the show and for that I was really grateful … Jock will be so very missed … I can’t believe I’m writing this…….”
Several past MasterChef contestants, like Laura Sharrad, Sarah Tiong, Depinder Chhibber, Minoli De Silva, and Reynold Poernomo, paid tribute to the chef on social media. Poernomo said he was “shocked” by the news.
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“… rest in peace, chef, my heart and condolences to loved ones,” he wrote on Zonfrillo’s Instagram.
Chefs Colin Fassnidge, Rosheen Kaul, and Dan Hong also shared their sadness.
“This is devastating,” wrote Hong, while former food critic Pat Nourse described Zonfrillo’s death as “incredibly sad news”.
“We’re the poorer for his passing. Truly heartbreaking,” he wrote on Instagram.
In a statement, Network 10 and the company that makes MasterChef Australia, Endemol Shine Australia, said they were “deeply shocked and saddened by the sudden loss.”
Peter Newman, the CEO of Endemol Shine Australia, said, “On set, the team loved him, and his enthusiasm for food and the show was contagious. He was also a great supporter of the MasterChef winners. He always wanted the best for them. Everyone on the MasterChef team will miss him very much. At this sad time, our thoughts are with his family.”
Barry Zonfrillo was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1976. At age 13, he started working in kitchens as a cleaner. He quit school when he was 15 and became one of the hotel’s youngest workers when he went to work there as a trainee.
Zonfrillo started working for the famous British cook Marco Pierre White when he was 17. In his 2021 book Last Shot, he said he was homeless and addicted to heroin. At age 22, he was named head cook at the Tresanton Hotel in Cornwall.
In 2000, Zonfrillo took over as head chef at Sydney’s Forty One, but he was fired in 2002 after setting an apprentice’s trousers on fire for working too slowly. Zonfrillo said that it was a joke that didn’t go as planned. Martin Krammer, a student who was 18 years old at the time, sued Zonfrillo in 2007 and won $75,000. Zonfrillo filed for bankruptcy the same year.
He then opened many restaurants in Adelaide, including Restaurant Orana, Street ADL, Bistro Blackwood, and Nonna Mallozzi. In 2018, Gourmet Traveller magazine and the Good Food Guide named Restaurant Orana the best restaurant in Australia. In 2019 and 2020, it got three hats, but it closed in March 2020.
In 2019, he joined Melissa Leong and Andy Allen as a judge on MasterChef Australia. He replaced the show’s original hosts, Matt Preston, George Calombaris, and Gary Mehigan.
Some of the stories in his book Last Shot caused much controversy. White said that “almost everything” Zonfrillo wrote about him in the parts about his time in London in the 1990s was not valid. The fact that Zonfrillo said he had been to “hundreds of Indigenous communities” was also called into question.
But Zonfrillo said,
“This is the story of my life. I’ve lived every minute of it, the highs and lows, and I stand by it.”
“There’s no question that some of my book makes me look pretty unsavoury at the best of times. I carry the shame from those years, not pride, and it was a big obstacle for me to overcome when writing this book.”
Zonfrillo’s fourth child and his third wife, Lauren Fried, will only remember him.
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