MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo has died aged 46, according to a statement from his family.
The statement, posted on his Facebook page, said: “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.”
The Glasgow-born chef had presented MasterChef since 2019 and the new series was due to air on Australian television on Monday night with guest Jamie Oliver.
In a joint statement issued by Network 10 and the programme’s producers Endemol Shine Australia, it was confirmed the presenter died in Melbourne on Sunday. The statement added the show will now not be broadcast this week.
“Jock was known to Australians as a chef, best-selling author, philanthropist and MasterChef judge but he will be best remembered as a loving father, husband, brother and son,” the statement said.
“Determined and talented and with plenty of grit, Jock was born in Glasgow to an Italian father and a Scottish mother, which meant his formative years were heavily influenced by two strong cultures and it was his obsession with food and desire for a new pushbike that at just 12 years old fuelled Jock to knock on kitchen doors looking for a job.
“Jock’s love and passion for food saw him become one of the youngest culinary students to do an apprenticeship at The Turnberry Hotel at just 15 years of age. From that point onwards there was no holding him back and by 17 he was working alongside Marco Pierre White at his eponymous Restaurant Macro Pierre White.”
The statement continued: “Throughout his career he worked with world famous chefs and in restaurants all over the world.
His talent saw him shine in the world’s most formidable kitchens and he opened Bistro Blackwood and Restaurant Orana in Adelaide after moving to Australia.
“In 2019, Jock was named as a judge on MasterChef Australia in which he took great pride in challenging and coaching the contestants and, of course, inspiring a nation of home cooks.
“Jock’s charisma, wicked sense of humour, generosity, passion and love for food and his family cannot be measured. He will be greatly missed.”