Jock Zonfrillo dead at 46: MasterChef Australia premiere cancelled

The cooking show was supposed to begin airing on Monday evening.

·2-min read

Channel 10 has made the decision to postpone MasterChef Australia's premiere for a week after popular judge Jock Zonfrillo died aged 46 on Sunday.

Season 15 was due to air on May 1 at 7:30 pm, but that was changed after his family made a heartbreaking statement on Monday afternoon. His death was sudden, with co-stars Melissa Leong and Jamie Oliver posting about the show’s premiere just hours before the announcement.

MasterChef judge Jock Zonfrillo passed away on Sunday. Photo: Getty
MasterChef judge Jock Zonfrillo passed away on Sunday. Photo: Getty

“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 wrote on Instagram.

“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,” they 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.”

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The Scottish-born chef is survived by his third wife Lauren Fried and his four children Alfie, Isla, Ava and Sophie. While the TV personality had a rocky past, including a drug addiction that began at age 15, his career thrived once he got clean and settled in Australia.

Jock's family shared this statement on his Instagram account. Photo: Instagram/zonfrillo
Jock's family shared this statement on his Instagram account. Photo: Instagram/zonfrillo

He first made a splash as the head chef of Restaurant 41 in Sydney in 2000, before opening his own establishment Restaurant Orana in 2013.

He has won multiple awards throughout his career, with Orana picked as Australia’s 2018 Restaurant of the Year by Gourmet Traveller and Australia’s 2019 Restaurant of the Year by the Good Food Guide. After he joined MasterChef Australia as a judge in 2019, he ended up closing Restaurant Orana in 2020.

The TV personality was a devoted father. Photo: Instagram/zonfrillo
The TV personality was a devoted father. Photo: Instagram/zonfrillo

Network 10 and the production company behind MasterChef Australia also shared a statement.

“Network 10 and Endemol Shine Australia are deeply shocked and saddened at the sudden loss of Jock Zonfrillo, a beloved member of the MasterChef Australia family. Jock passed away in Melbourne yesterday,” the statement read.

“Jock was known to Australians as a chef, best-selling author, philanthropist and MasterChef judge but he will be best remembered as a loving father, husband, brother and son.”

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