‘MasterChef’ Decide Dies On Eve Of Season Premiere At Age 46
“MasterChef Australia” judge Jock Zonfrillo died Sunday in Melbourne, the day before the season premiere. He was 46.
Australia’s Channel 10 announced the “sudden loss” and said the episode, which will also feature celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, is postponed.
No cause of death was given.
“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,” his family said in a statement, per Deadline.
“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 in his family, keep this proud Scot in your hearts when you next have a whisky.”
Zonfrillo, a wiz kid chef-turned-restaurateur who struggled with heroin addiction in his youth in Scotland, joined the “MasterChef” franchise as a judge in 2019.
Oliver, who is featured with Zonfrillo in the upcoming season, wrote on Facebook that he was “in total shock.” “We had the best time working together,” Oliver wrote.
Gordon Ramsay, who previously worked with Zonfrillo, called the Scot’s death “devastating.”
Zonfrillo was named the hottest chef in Australia in 2018 by The Australian, five years after opening the prominent Adelaide restaurant Orana, Deadline wrote. The restaurant shuttered in early 2020.
“Covid closed our doors,” he said. Another of his Adelaide establishments, Bistro Blackwood, closed in 2019.
Infamy followed Zonfrillo in the early stages of his career. In 2002, he set fire to the pants of an apprentice chef, burning the man’s hands and costing him months of work, the Mirror reported. Zonfrillo, who said it was a practical joke gone awry, was ordered to pay the victim $50,000.
Zonfrillo is survived by wife Lauren Fried and four children.