Cooking Show Host Found Dead Right Before Season Premiere
The cooking world was hit with tragedy on Monday as news broke of chef Jock Zonfrillo’s death.
The chef was just 46 years old.
Zonfrillo had become a growing household name in Australia, where he quickly asserted himself as a fan favorite on beloved cooking show “MasterChef Australia,” which he joined in 2019.
In fact, the latest season of the popular show was slated to air on Monday, but it has been pulled from the air for the time being.
Network 10, the network that carries the show, released a statement through parent company Paramount to confirm the news.
“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 said.
“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.”
Network 10 went on to note that Zonfrillo was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and was of Scottish (mother) and Italian (father) descent.
A cooking prodigy, Zonfrillo became one of the “youngest culinary students to do an apprenticeship at The Turnberry Hotel” at the tender age of 15.
The Network 10 statement also included a statement from the Zonfrillo family: “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 family said.
“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.
“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.”
No cause of death was listed in the statement, but Australian news site News.com.au is reporting that Zonfrillo had been battling cancer leading up to his death.
There has been no official confirmation of that report as of this writing.
With a show as popular as “MasterChef,” tributes from fans poured in on social media.
Gordon Ramsay, as big of a name in cooking as there is and one of the masterminds behind the “MasterChef” series (Ramsay hosts the American version of the show), offered his condolences on Twitter:
Saddened by the devastating news of Jock Zonfrillo’s passing. 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 Gx
— Gordon Ramsay (@GordonRamsay) May 1, 2023
“Saddened by the devastating news of Jock Zonfrillo’s passing,” Ramsay tweeted. “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.”
According to CNN, Zonfrillo is survived by his wife, Lauren Fried, and their four children.
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