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‘I'll miss you looking out for me every single day.' Jock Zonfrillo's fellow judges pay tribute to the MasterChef star.

MasterChef's Andy Allen and Melissa Leong have broken their silence a day after news that their co-star, Jock Zonfrillo, had passed away. 

"When I met you five years ago, I knew our lives were about to change forever," Andy wrote on Instagram on Tuesday afternoon. "What I didn't realise is how close Alex [Andy's fiance] and I would become outside of the kitchen with you, Lauren [Jock's wife], and your kids.

"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." 

Tributes have flowed in for the judge of Channel 10's cooking show in the wake of his death on Sunday, with his family announcing the loss of their “irreplaceable husband, father, brother, son, and friend” on Instagram on Monday. 

“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,” their statement read. 

The 46-year-old father leaves behind his third wife, Lauren, and four children. Image: Instagram. 

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The heartbreaking announcement came just hours before the next season of MasterChef was set to premiere. Network 10 has since confirmed that the show will not air this week, while Jock's colleagues attempt to come to terms with their loss.

"I'll miss the way you mentored me and every constant that walked into the MasterChef kitchen," Andy reminisced online. "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." 

Fellow judge, Melissa Leong, has also shared a devastating tribute to the father-of-four. 

"Four years ago, the three of us stood on a precipice and jumped," she wrote on Instagram. "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."

She went on to say that during their time together, she witnessed what "true excellence looks like" both in the kitchen and outside of it. 

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"Your kindness and generosity, the many lives you’ve lived, the way you carried far more on your shoulders than most could ever know," she explained.

"Thank you for challenging me daily, for making me better, my work buddy and friend, purveyor of excellent morning coffees, hater of pears, okra and nasturtiums.

"This all feels too raw to process still, I suspect it will for some time. Such is the impact of a life lived so large, with so much levity and entirely on your own terms. My heart goes out to your family, who were and are your life. A wee dram for you today, and always."

From a troubled start to international fame.

While Jock – who was born as Barry – has helmed one of Australia’s best-loved shows since 2020, the 46-year-old Scotsman has had a long road to success. 

Born in Glasgow in the 1980s, Jock worked as a part-time dishwasher in his early teens before falling into a life of drugs and becoming a heroin addict by the time he was 17.

After losing his job at a Michelin-star restaurant in England, he was left broke, homeless, and begging for work in London. 

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Of all people, it was Marco Pierre White who saved his life and offered him a job.

“He saw something of me in him or him in me,” Jock told GoodFood in 2018. “But I went in there completely naked. Stripped of everything. I was a drug addict, and I had no expectations of my abilities as a cook. I was lost. I mean, really completely f**ked up.” 

When Pierre White then discovered the still-homeless Jock was sneaking into the staff change rooms to sleep under towels, the world-famous chef again stepped in to help. 

“He arranged a youth hostel for me to stay in and lent me money that was to be paid back out of my wages,” Jock told The Advertiser. “The sums up Marco – generous beyond measure.”

After that, Jock moved from one world-class restaurant to another in the UK, before making the leap to Australia in 2000 as Head Chef of Restaurant 41 in Sydney. He later went on to open his own restaurants in Adelaide and was named Australia’s Hottest Chef in 2018. 

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Two years after that, Jock’s star really blew up when he was selected as a new judge on MasterChef Australia alongside Melissa Leong and Andy Allen.

Jock became a household name when he was selected as a MasterChef judge in 2020. Image: 10 Play.

On the sidelines, Jock’s personal life was expanding and in 2017, he married his third wife, businesswoman Lauren Friend, after she messaged him on Twitter. The pair went on to have two kids, Isla Generosa, who’s now two, and Alfie, who’s four. Jock also has two older daughters from his first two marriages – Ava and Sophia. 

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Heartbroken friends say they were ‘lucky’ to know Jock.

Heartbroken friends – and well-known Australian names – took to social media on Monday afternoon to share their condolences. 

“Holding Jock’s family close to my heart and thinking of those in his circle at this saddest of times,” fellow Channel 10 colleague, Narelda Jacobs, wrote on Instagram. “He touched so many of us.” 

“You’re a beautiful man, Jock,” Paralympian and former Australian of the year, Dylan Alcott, said. “[I] felt lucky you and your family came into our lives. Gone too soon brother.” 

“I’m so shocked and saddened by this,” The Bachelorette’s Georgia Love added. “Jock was so kind, to me and to anyone else I’ve heard he ever had contact with. I’m so sorry.”

While many in the MasterChef family were quick to pay their own respects.   

“This is so shattering, I’m still in shock,” Depinder Chhibber said. “Sending you all love.”

“I’m so shocked… rest in peace chef, my heart and condolences to loved ones,” wrote Reynold Poer

“I can’t believe this is true,” Aldo Ortado added. “I’m so sorry Zonfrillo family for your loss. For what I can say, he was a great man with a big heart. I loved getting to know him.” 

It has since been confirmed that following this loss, that MasterChef will not air this week.

Image: Instagram.

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