Jock Zonfrillo, celebrity chef and the popular judge of Masterchef Australia, died on Sunday. He was 46.
His sudden demise was confirmed by his family on Instagram @zonfrillo. It 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.”
Condolence messages have poured in from celebrity chefs around the world; from Jamie Oliver to Nigella Lawson and Atul Kochhar. The cause of his death has not be shared.
The chef started his career in hospitality as a dishwasher at the age of 13. He joined a restaurant full-time by 15, and moved up the ranks to work alongside noted names such as Marco Pierre White. In his 2021 memoir, Last Shot, he wrote about his heroin addiction, being homeless and becoming one of television’s most recognisable faces. He is known for championing contestants on the show, and being a charismatic food critique.
Network 10 and Endemol Shine Australia, the production company of MasterChef Australia, tweeted, that they “are deeply shocked and saddened at the sudden loss of Jock Zonfrillo, a beloved member of the MasterChef Australia family,” and added, “MasterChef Australia will not air this week.”