TV Chef Jock Zonfrillo Dies Suddenly at 46, Family ‘Completely Shattered’

TV chef Jock Zonfrillo has died suddenly at just 46 years old, his devastated family has revealed.

Zonfrillo, originally from Glasgow Scotland, was a judge on the hit show MasterChef Australia.

He died leaving a wife and four children on the eve of his show’s new season premiere.

His body was reportedly found by authorities after he died unexpectedly in a Melbourne hotel room.

A Victoria Police spokesperson told The Daily Mail they found Zonfrillo’s body at about 2 am on Monday after they were called to a hotel on Lygon Street in Carlton for a welfare check.

No cause of death has been disclosed.

However, police say his death is not being treated as suspicious.

A report will be prepared for the coroner.

Zonfrillo is survived by his third wife, Lauren Fried, and his four children: teenage daughters Ava and Sophia, from his first two marriages, and six-year-old Alfie and two-year-old Isla, with Fried.

The Scottish-Australian chef and restaurateur became a host of the popular Channel 10 cooking show in 2019 alongside Andy Allen and Melissa Leong.

His death comes as MasterChef’s fifteenth season, featuring British TV chef Jamie Oliver as a guest judge, was due to premiere on Ten on Monday night.

The show will not be airing this week in light of Zonfrillo’s passing.

“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 said in a statement on Monday.

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“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.”

Oliver, who recently wrapped filming with Zonfrillo, said he was in “total shock” over the death of his friend.

“I’m in total shock to wake up to the sudden death of chef Jock Zonfrillo,” he wrote on Instagram.

“We had the best time working together for this year’s MasterChef.

“I can’t tell how good it was to work with him.

“Jock was very generous to me with his time and spirit in the show and for that I was really grateful.

“Melissa, Andy, and Jock work as the most inspiring judges and mentors and each have their very own unique view and style.

“Jock will be so very missed.

“I can’t believe I’m writing this,” he added.

“Sending heartfelt love and condolences to all of his family, friends, and his second family, the MasterChef team and contestants.”

Other tributes from the celebrity and culinary worlds flooded in as the news broke.

Fellow expatriate chef and TV personality Colin Fassnidge told Daily Mail: “It’s so shocking.

“I’m sitting on a rock right now trying to take it in, I don’t know what to say. I’m floored.

“I’ve had to call my wife straight away when I heard.”

Fassnidge, who had been friends with Zonfrillo for 20 years and last saw him two weeks ago at the Taste of Adelaide food festival, said there was no indication anything was going wrong for him, and the news was a complete surprise.

“He was flying, he was doing a great job, he had a great show, he was on top of the world,” he said.

“Jock was normal, he was healthy and he was living a good life.”

“I just feel so sorry for his other half.”

Fassnidge revealed Zonfrillo’s passing had rocked the hospitality industry.

“We all battle each other in the ratings, but we’re all one big family in hospitality,” he said.

“At a certain level, all the chefs know each other.

“Everyone is ringing. Everyone knows the entire community is in shock.

“He’s another version of me. He likes a joke.

“He liked the whisky in the old days. He’s just a great TV host and a great cook.

“I don’t know what I think yet. We were rivals, and we were friends.”

British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay said on Twitter he was devastated by the news.

“I truly enjoyed the time we spent together on MasterChef in Australia,” he said.

“Sending all my love to Lauren and the family in this difficult time.”

Studio 10 host Narelda Jacobs wrote on Instagram: “Holding Jock’s family close to my heart and thinking of those in his circle at this saddest of time.

“He touched so many of us.”

MasterChef contestant Reynold Poernomo said: “I’m so shocked. Rest in peace, chef.

“My heart and condolences to [your] loved ones.”

Fellow franchise alum Khanh Ong added: “I’m so, so sorry. My condolences.”

READ MORE: Former NFL Player Chris Smith Dies Suddenly at 31

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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