MasterChef judge Jock Zonfrillo dies aged 46, cause of death revealed
MasterChef Australia will air on Sunday, six days after it was delayed as a mark of respect following the sudden death of judge Jock Zonfrillo, Network Ten has announced.
“With the full support of Jock Zonfrillo’s family, MasterChef Australia will air at 7.30pm on Sunday, 7 May,” the network said.
A special tribute episode of The Sunday Project will air before the first MasterChef episode of season 15, which was filmed before Zonfrillo died aged 46.
“MasterChef Australia Judge Jock Zonfrillo took great pride in challenging and coaching the contestants and of course inspiring a nation of home cooks,” Ten said.
“It is with Jock in our hearts that we cherish this season and remember the charismatic and big-hearted Judge and Chef who we knew and loved. Jock will be remembered in the MasterChef Australia kitchen for years to come.
The Sunday Project will honour his memory.
“With contributions from friends he held closely, the show will honour Jock by reflecting on his personal and professional life in a celebration of his incredible achievements,” Ten said.
Fellow judges Melissa Leong and Andy Allen paid tribute to Zonfrillo on social media earlier in the week.
Leong said the tragedy “feels too raw to process still”.
“I suspect it will for some time,” she said on Instagram.
“My heart goes out to your family, who were and are your life.
“A wee dram for you today, and always.”
Allen said Zonfrillo taught him “what it means to be a great father, husband and friend” and that he would miss Zonfrillo looking out for him “every single day”.
“I’ll miss the way you mentored me and every contestant that walked into the MasterChef kitchen,” Allen said on Instagram. “I’ll miss you ordering the entire menu, no matter how many dishes deep and making me eat every last bite.
“You really were the complete package, mate, and life will never be the same without you.”
MasterChef Australia’s new season was pulled hours before it was to screen on Monday.
After the wrap of the Secrets and Surprises series, Zonfrillo had been on holiday in Europe with his wife, Lauren, and two young children before returning to do publicity for the show. Zonfrillo is also a father to two adult children.
— MasterChef Australia (@masterchefau) May 3, 2023
His family confirmed his death on Monday, saying “our irreplaceable husband, father, brother, son and friend” died on Sunday in Melbourne.
“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,” Zonfrillo’s family said on Monday.
No cause of death was given. A Victoria police spokesperson confirmed that the death was not being treated as suspicious. A report will be prepared for the coroner.