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Masterchef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo dies age 46

Fond of Indian cuisine, Zonfrillo was previously the owner of Restaurant Orana before joining the Masterchef panel.

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Masterchef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo has passed away in Melbourne on Sunday at the age of 46.

The Scottish-Australian chef was a host on the show since 2019, alongside Melissa Leong and Andy Allen. He was a judge for the show’s thirteenth season which significantly featured South Asian chefs, one of whom (Fijian-Indian chef Justin Narayan) won the title.

The cause of death has not been disclosed.

Jock Zonfrillo is survived by his wife Lauren Fried and his four children, who have released a statement on his sudden 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.”

“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.”


Jock Zonfrillo has often publicly noted his love for Indian food, particularly Chicken Tikka Masala, which he grew up eating in Glasgow and made during a Masterchef episode. He has a particular interest in the regional differences within cuisine in India.

In 2021, a video from series 13 of Masterchef Australia in which Jock Zonfrillo tasted contestant Depinder Chhibber’s traditional Indian tiffin meal went viral, with Zonfrillo even asking to take home some of her grandmother’s special pickles.

Broadcast in India on Disney’s Star World channel, Masterchef Australia has also garnered a substantial fanbase on the subcontinent.

His death comes on the eve of Masterchef Australia’s fifteenth season, which was to air on May 1st, but will be postponed for one week due to his passing.

READ ALSO: The mindful cook: MasterChef Australia winner Justin Narayan

Lakshmi Ganapathy
Lakshmi Ganapathy
Lakshmi Ganapathy is an emerging journalist and theatre-maker based in Melbourne.

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