Jock Zonfrillo, MasterChef Australia Judge, Dead At 46 Just Before The New Season

"MasterChef Australia" judge Jock Zonfrillo has died at age 46. A father, husband, chef, and successful television presenter, Zonfrillo passed away on April 30 – the day before the cooking competition's 16th season was slated to premiere. The Glasgow-born Zonfrillo made his debut on the show in 2019 and was set to make an onscreen return on the May 1 opener. Due to his passing, the scheduled episode won't be aired.

Around 2 a.m. on May 1, police conducting a welfare check found the chef's body in a Melbourne hotel room. An official cause of death hasn't been released at this time of this writing. Police suspect no foul play.

Zonfrillo had a wife named Lauren Fried and four children. His family posted a statement on his official Instagram that reads, "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." The family has also requested privacy as they navigate their grief.

Jock Zonfrillo's robust life

From age 13 onward, Jock Zonfrillo found work in kitchens. He was only 15 years old when he was selected as one of the Turnberry Hotel's youngest apprentices ever. Despite experiencing addiction issues and homelessness, Zonfrillo became Cornwall Tresanton Hotel's head chef at 22.

Sober since 2000, Zonfrillo went on to open a series of critically acclaimed, award-winning restaurants including Street ADL, Bistro Blackwood, Nonna Mallozzi, and Gourmet Traveller Magazine's 2018 Restaurant of the Year Orana. In addition to his involvement with "MasterChef Australia," Zonfrillo has appeared on "Savour Australia," "Nomad Chef, and Restaurant Revolution."

Fellow "MasterChef" icon Gordon Ramsay reflected on his time with the late chef and restaurateur with a nostalgic message: "I truly enjoyed the time we spent together on MasterChef in Australia. Zonfrillo's "MasterChef" co-star Jamie Oliver honored him in a tweet: "It's a very sad day. We've lost another dear friend. Jock was like a brother to me and we made each other laugh and cry. My heart goes out to his family. I am speechless Rest my friend xx."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).