According to a statement released by Australian broadcaster Network 10, “MasterChef Australia” host Jock Zonfrillo dἰed unexpectedly at the age of 46, on the eve of the premiere of a new season of the cooking competition show.
The statement claimed the Scottish host “pἀssed away in Melbourne on Sunday,” but did not specify how he had dἰed.
Zonfrillo joined the hit cooking competition this year, and he was scheduled to make his debut in the season premiere on Monday, March 18 alongside guest judge and British chef Jamie Oliver.
According to a statement released by Network 10, the episode has been taken off the broadcast. Zonfrillo, who was born in Glasgow in 1976, has worked under the tutelage of several illustrious chefs.
In London, he got his start in the industry under the tutelage of chef Marco Pierre White, who he would later say saved his life.
According to his memoir “Last Shot,” published just last year, Zonfrillo attempted heroin as a teenager in Glasgow and struggled with substance abuse for years as he built on his early success.
The book’s description reads:
“For years he balanced a career as a rising star amongst legendary chefs with a crippling drug addiction that took him down many dark paths.”
In 1999, Zonfrillo departed the United Kingdom to become the executive chef at Sydney’s Restaurant 41. He then went on to found Restaurant Orana, an Adelaide fine dining institution that received awards for its cuisine in 2019 and 2020 before closing.
He was the host of many different food shows, including “Nomad Chef,” which explored the cuisine of far-flung settlements all over the world, as well as “Restaurant Revolution” and “Chef Exchange.”
In 2016, he established The Orana Foundation to promote the value of Australia’s traditional cuisine. And in 2018, he took home the Basque Culinary World Prize for his efforts to promote Indigenous food and culture.
His most notable appearance, however, was on the Australian version of “MasterChef,” an immensely successful television show that has given him a household celebrity in Australia in recent years.
Lauren Fried, Zonfrillo’s wife, and their four children are left behind. Zonfrillo’s family expressed their sorrow over his pἀssing in a statement provided to Network 10.
“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.”
The statement added-
“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.”
Celebrity chef Oliver wrote on Facebook that he was in “total shock” to learn of Zonfrillo’s pἀssing.
“We had the best time working together for this year’s master chef … 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.”
Gordon Ramsay, another well-known British chef, said it was “devastating news” to hear about Zonfrillo’s pἀssing.
He wrote on Twitter-
“I truly enjoyed the time we spent together on MasterChef in Australia. Sending all my love to Lauren and the family in this difficult time.”