Jock Zonfrillo, award-winning chef and a judge on MasterChef Australia, has died at the age of 46. Mr Zonfrillo’s family confirmed his death on Monday, calling him “our irreplaceable husband, father, brother, son and friend” in a statement, as per The Guardian. No cause of death has been given but the Victoria Police said it was not being treated as suspicious, the outlet further said. The police also said that a report on Mr Zonfrillo’s death will be prepared by the coroner’s office.
MasterChef Australia’s new season was cancelled after the death of Mr Zonfrillo, Network 10 confirmed to The Guardian.
“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,” the chef’s family said in a statement.
“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 further said.
Mr Zonfrillo is survived by his wife and four children.
The BBC said that he was born in Glasgow in 1976 and started working in kitchens at the age of 12. When he turned 15, Mr Zonfrillo joined luxury Scottish resort, The Turnberry Hotel, becoming its youngest-ever apprentice.
Two years later, he started working for Michelin-starred British chef Marco Pierre White.
As his career grew, Mr Zonfrillo became addicted to heroin, something he wrote about in his 2021 memoir, The Last Shot. His life changed after moving to Australia in the 1990s where Mr Zonfrillo opened several restaurants, including his most successful eatery Orana, in 2013.