MasterChef Australia judges pay emotional tribute to Jock Zonfrillo

The 46-year-old Scottish-born chef and restaurateur Jock Zonfrillo had earned many fans in a short span. Photo: Instagram/@zonfrillo

MasterChef Australia judges Melissa Leong and Andy Allen paid rich and emotional tribute to chef Jock Zonfrillo, who died in Melbourne, on Monday, aged 46.
Zonfrillo's untimely passing hit many as a rude shock.

The Scottish-born chef and restaurateur had earned many fans in a short span, ever since he joined the show in 2019. The cause of his death is not known yet.
Leong wrote on Instagram that Zonfrillo's death "feels too raw to process still".

"I could never have guessed how much of an impact your arrival in my life would have, or that we would be saying goodbye to you so soon. You were always supposed to be the bulletproof one who outlived us all...My heart goes out to your family, who were and are your life," she wrote.
Allen said 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. I'll miss you ordering the entire menu, no matter how many dishes deep and making me eat every last bite," he said.

"You really were the complete package, mate, and life will never be the same without you."

Renowned chef Jamie Oliver took to social media to express his grief and said, “We have lost another dear friend. Jock was like a brother to me and we made each other laugh and cry.”

Oliver was scheduled to appear in the show along with Zonfrillo, Leong and Allen. In fact, the late chef was posting a day earlier excitedly on his social media channels about what lay in store.

Many celebs expressed their shock on learning about his death. Actress Jennifer Winglet shared a touching post on the same. "First, simply a fan from afar, then how blessed to have our paths cross – To have known you, learned from and shared your craft, culture and cuisine, from slightly closer quarters, will forever be life's cherished memory,” she wrote.

The 15th season of MasterChef Australia was due to air on Monday night, but has been postponed by a week out of respect for Zonfrillo.

Love for tikka masala, butter chicken
Did you know that Jock had plans to visit India and explore the country's cuisine? In one of his earlier interviews with a magazine, he had mentioned his love for both India and its food, due to the diversity in the cuisine.

He had plans to visit for three months, and revealed the wish to make it to all Indian states and experience their signature dishes.

In the interview, he also revealed that he grew up eating a lot of tikka masala and butter chicken in Scotland. He fondly remembered teaming them up with naan, and said the first thing he would taste once in India would be its street food.

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