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‘MasterChef Australia’ judge Jock Zonfrillo dies at 46 on eve of season premiere

The show's network said it was “deeply shocked and saddened at the sudden loss” of the chef and father of four.
/ Source: TODAY

Jock Zonfrillo, chef and judge on "MasterChef Australia," died at age 46 on Sunday, his family said.

The father of four died in Melbourne, Australia, on April 30, his family said in a statement, which did not provide further details on his death.

"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," his family said in an Instagram post. "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."

Jock Zonfrillo
Jock Zonfrillo attends the Good Food Guide Awards at Crown Palladium on October 8, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.Sam Tabone / WireImage

Network 10 and Endemol Shine Australia said in a statement they were "deeply shocked and saddened at the sudden loss" of Zonfrillo, and said "MasterChef Australia" will not air its season premiere this week.

Zonfrillo is survived by his wife Lauren Fried and four children: Ava, Sophia, Alfie and Isla, according to Australian news outlet 7NEWS.

Zonfrillo authored "Last Shot," his 2022 memoir, which recounted his struggles with "addiction in a world of excess, celebrity, and cut-throat ambition," according to the book’s publisher.

Zonfrillo was born in Glasgow, Scotland, to an Italian father and a Scottish mother, according to "MasterChef Australia."

"His formative years were heavily influenced by two strong cultures and it was his obsession with food and desire for a new pushbike that at just 12 years old fueled Jock to knock on kitchen doors looking for a job," the show said.

At age 15, Zonfrillo became one of the youngest people to complete an apprenticeship at The Turnberry Hotel, and by 17 he was alongside Marco Pierre White at his London restaurant.

Zonfrillo worked in kitchens across the globe before moving to Australia, where he opened two of his own restaurants, Bistro Blackwood and Restaurant Orana, which received the distinction of three hats in 2019 and 2020, among numerous other awards.

He was named as a judge on "MasterChef Australia" in 2019 and appeared on spinoff series "Celebrity MasterChef Australia" and "Junior MasterChef Australia." He was set to star in the premiere of the new season of "Masterchef Australia" on April 30 alongside guest judge British chef Jamie Oliver, but Network 10 said the episode has been pulled from air.

"Jock’s charisma, wicked sense of humour, generosity, passion and love for food and his family cannot be measured," the show said. "He will be greatly missed."

"In total shock to hear of the sudden death of chef Jock Zonfrillo. Had the best time working with him for this year’s @MasterChefau," tweeted Oliver. "Jock was very generous with his time and spirit in the show and will be so very missed. Sending heart felt love and condolences to all of his family, friends and the MasterChef team and contestants."

"Saddened by the devastating news of Jock Zonfrillo’s passing. I truly enjoyed the time we spent together on MasterChef in Australia," tweeted Gordon Ramsay. "Sending all my love to Lauren and the family in this difficult time."