MasterChef Australia airs emotional tribute to Jock Zonfrillo

Marco Pierre White says Jock Zonfrillo will ‘live on’

Having been pushed back a week following the tragic death of judge Jock Zonfrillo, the latest season of MasterChef Australia, began to air on May 7.

The award-winning chef and dad-of-four died just as the 15th season of the hit show was set to launch that evening and, out of respect, the network cancelled the season launch.

Airing it with the blessing of Jock’s family Network 10 also broadcast a special one-hour episode of the Sunday Project dedicated to Zonfrillo.

It featured many of his contemporaries paying tribute to the star, and revealed the Scotland-born chef and his family had permanently relocated to Rome just three weeks before he died.

Following both shows fans took to social media to describe how emotional they felt, and many said they were in tears.

One viewer using the Twitter handle @Intense_Silver wrote: “Dearest Jock, My heart is broken… Toughest Masterchef watch yet.

“Pouring out a bottle of HP sauce for you. I love you and miss you, your culinary skills, your insatiable food shovelling, your impeccable style, and your kind heart. RIP, legend.”

@sarahmunslow said: “Way too many tears for a Sunday night. Going to be very hard watching Masterchef for the next couple of weeks.”

Another viewer going by @BK94__ chimed in: “The episode of @theprojecttv tonight on Jock Zonfrillo made me sob.

“The food world and MasterChef will never be the same again. I can’t imagine how his poor family feel. What an amazing chef and man.”

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A fourth viewer, @Fiona_Marconi, confessed to running the gamut of emotions writing: “I can tell you the first 15 minutes was so joyous!

“Sobbed after watching Jock’s tribute just before but now have the familiar ‘happy feels’ that Masterchef brings.”

After the credits, a picture of Jock appeared, with a message to the late chef “from the MasterChef family” saying: “Thank you for giving us all your wisdom, kindness and humour.

“We were lucky to have been around you, but for too brief a time.”

In the Sunday Project special tribute edition Marco Pierre White, who gave Jock one of his first jobs, described the star as rare and special.

“Jock came to me when he was 17-years-old. His enthusiasm was greater than his knowledge, but it was his enthusiasm which drove him, maybe fuelled by his fears of failures, by his insecurities, which I could relate to,” he said.

“You could see he was very gifted, he was very intelligent,” he added. “He was filled with empathy and compassion. He had qualities very few chefs possess.”

Meanwhile fellow MasterChef judge Andy Allen passed on a message from Zonfrillo’s family.

“They just wanted me to say they can feel the support for Jock and themselves. They’re hurting but it does help,” he revealed.

“They have been overwhelmed with how much support there has been for him and the whole family. They didn’t know. It has been unreal to see how much support there has been.”

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