How Andy Allen helped the Zonfrillo family grieve.

Jock Zonfrillo was honoured posthumously at the 2024 AACTA Awards on Saturday night, almost 10 months after his passing.

His wife, Lauren, accepted the award for Best Reality Series and acknowledged the profound influence her husband had on MasterChef and its contestants. 

But it was her personal thank you to co-host and friend Andy Allen, who also accepted the award on Jock's behalf, that left a profound mark on the evening. 

Watch: Jock Zonfrillo on MasterChef. Post continues after video. 

Video via Channel 10.

Andy began by honouring his friend, calling him "the heart and soul of the MasterChef kitchen".

"Mate, I miss you so much, we all miss you so much, the kitchen's not the same without you," he said.

Afterwards, Lauren stepped forward to remember the life of her late husband, who had dedicated his life to his craft. 

"Jock always appreciated the privilege of being part of MasterChef and I'm very much feeling overwhelmed being part of that privilege tonight. He was an 11-year-old boy when he started on the pans and in the years that followed he learned to be a chef and a man in some of the toughest kitchens in the world," she said. 


"He learned a lot of things in those years. Some were quite unsavoury, but he did learn to be an extraordinary teacher. He learned to spot talent in people before they saw it in themselves, so he gave people the courage to push and maybe leap into the unknown because they had his support as a safety net. 

"That's why, as a MasterChef judge, he so naturally did that, as each contestant walked into the kitchen and I think that's very much the reason why he has so much of an impactful chapter in the history of MasterChef."

Lauren continued by extending her gratitude to Jock's former colleagues.

"I'd like to thank Endemol Shine. I just want to acknowledge the courage it took for people to get back to business, [for] the editors to get back in and keep editing, and for the crew to walk back on set filled with so many memories," she said. 

"I would like to thank Bev, Kat and Dan from Network 10, who gave up very precious time with their own families so they could care for and protect mine at a time when I felt quite helpless."

Lastly, she honoured her and Jock's friend Andy. She thanked him for his support while she and their children, Isla and Alfie, and his daughters, Ava and Sophia, grieved.

"When Ava said her eulogy to her dad, she chose Andy to stand by her side. That says a lot about the place he holds," she said.

"Without Jock, the days seem like they're drained of colour, but today has been a day of pride."


Jock and Andy were incredibly close after hosting MasterChef Australia together.

"What I didn't realise is how close Alex [Andy's wife] and I would become outside of the kitchen with you, Lauren and your kids," Andy wrote in a tribute following Jock's death on April 30, 2023. 

"You’ve become such an inspirational and important part of our lives. Sure, you've taught me so much about food, but it's the lessons I learnt about what it means to be a great father, husband and friend that I’ll take away from our time together and will last forever."


Andy remembered Jock as a mentor to both himself and the MasterChef contestants, and shared memories he holds closely to him.

"I'll miss you ordering the entire menu, no matter how many dishes deep, and making me eat every last bite, I'll miss your morning on-set coffees that made me shake from the amount of caffeine you were able to extract out of every individual bean, I'll miss the morning FaceTimes with Loz, Alfie and Isla, but overall I'll miss you looking out for me every single day.

"Thanks for making me constantly laugh and being there when I needed to cry. You really were the complete package mate and life will never be the same without you."

Melissa Leong, Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen on Masterchef Australia. Image: Channel 10.


In October 2023, six months on from his passing, Channel 10 announced the lineup for the 2024 season of MasterChef Australia.

British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver will be joining the cooking show for at least two weeks, making his stint the longest a guest judge has appeared on MasterChef

Poh Ling Yeow will also be joining the panel of judges, having competed in the first-ever season of the series. 

French celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, and food critic and journalist Sofia Levin are also joining MasterChef. 

They'll all be new guests or full-time judges on the series, joining Andy, who is in his fifth year of co-judging.

As for how Lauren's thoughts on the new chefs taking up the mantel?

"This would make Jock immensely happy," she said.

"[Andy] unexpectedly came into our life four years ago. He quickly became a best mate to Jock, shared a passion for food and fun, and was someone who cared deeply for our family," she continued.


She even shared a particularly special memory she had of Andy, only hours after learning about Jock's death.

"Andy walked back into the MasterChef kitchen to film his segment for Jock's tribute show seven months ago, literally only hours after I called him to tell him the news. He did that for Ava and I, for Jock, and as a gift for our little ones to watch in the future," she said.

"I see now that it was an enormous, and possibly unfair, request I made of him. He did it without hesitation."

Andy Allens and Lauren Zonfrillo. Image: Instagram @andyallencooks.


Lauren has been open about her grief, and in October 2023, she shared the reality of living without her husband and the father of her children. 

"We had Isla's first birthday party without her papa," she wrote. "Jock would have been up all night the day before, the first one out of bed in the morning. Menu planning for weeks. Then I would have fallen asleep on Jock's chest after the party...

"This year," she continued. "I did a BBQ and the rest of the food was outsourced to my sister and Mark. [Ava] blew up the balloons. Uber delivered the cake. I cried as I dressed the kids. I fell asleep without Jock."

The process of loss has been anything but simple, and hard to understand, she continued.

"For Jock to miss these days seems unfair and unbearable, and another of the firsts we are pushing through as a family," she wrote.

"But our little ones are finding joy again, they are being the happy and cheeky children they always were, and I'm grateful that life keeps dragging us forward day by day."

Filming for the 2024 season of MasterChef Australia began in October 2023, and will go on until May 2024.

Feature Image: Instagram @andyallencooks

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