Jock Zonfrillo, a judge on MasterChef Australia, has died. According to Australian TV broadcaster Network 10, the 46-year-old chef passed away in Melbourne on April 30.
He was a renowned chef and television presenter who appeared on the show several times and opened restaurants in his home country of Scotland.
When he first moved to Australia, Zonfrillo was head chef at Sydney’s Restaurant 41 before launching his own fine dining establishment in Adelaide called Restaurant Orana. The restaurant was a huge success, winning culinary awards and gaining a following of devoted fans who loved to follow his recipes.
Before becoming a chef, he spent many years in the music industry and was an accomplished singer-songwriter. He penned several hits including “Alfie” and “Summer Rain.”
While Zonfrillo was known as a talented chef, his life had also been filled with controversy. He was fired from his role at Restaurant 41 in 2002 after he set fire to an apprentice’s pants for working too slowly, and he declared bankruptcy in 2007.
Although Zonfrillo was known as one of the best chefs in the world, he also suffered from various health issues throughout his life. He was addicted to heroin in his 20s, but he eventually managed to turn his life around and start a career in the food industry.
He worked as an apprentice for famed British chef Marco Pierre White at a young age, and in his memoir Last Shot, he wrote about how his experiences working under Pierre White led him to overcome drug addiction and homelessness.
In his later years, he married several times. He met his third wife Laura Fried via Twitter and welcomed two children with her. The couple was known for posting photos of their kids on their Instagram accounts, and upon Zonfrillo’s death, the family released a statement asking fans to keep their privacy as they navigate his loss.
When he was younger, Zonfrillo had a tough upbringing and struggled with homelessness. In his 2021 memoir, he revealed that he slept on the streets as a child and became homeless at age 15.
After he turned 18, Zonfrillo moved to England, where he became an apprentice at The Turnberry Hotel in Cornwall. He was later appointed head chef at The Tresanton hotel and opened the restaurant Orana in 2013.
He also owned a number of other restaurants, including Bistro Blackwood and Restaurant Orana in Adelaide. He also founded the Orana Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving historic cooking techniques.
As a judge on MasterChef, he was known for his unique approach to cooking and his “wicked sense of humour,” as well as his passion for the show and for the contestants. His “generous and generous” spirit was noted by UK celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who said he will miss him on Twitter.
Jock Zonfrillo‘s fellow “MasterChef” judges expressed their grief on social media, including Melissa Leong and Andy Allen. A statement from Network 10 and Endemol Shine Australia also said they are “deeply shocked” by the passing of the beloved chef.