'People want to know why.' Melissa Leong just spoke about Jock Zonfrillo for 'first and last time'.

Melissa Leong has spoken publicly about the death of her friend and MasterChef colleague Jock Zonfrillo "for the first and last time".

Zonfrillo died on April 30. In early May, Leong shared a tribute for her "work buddy and friend", saying it was "too raw to process".

In the months since, she has kept her grief private - and now she's explained why.

"I'm known as being someone who is pretty open about showing emotion in my work and as a human being. I'm not afraid of weighing in where I feel like I really am passionate about something," Leong told Stellar's Something To Talk About podcast. 

"So I think there's been quite a disconnect in terms of, well, why is she remaining quiet at a time like this? I know a lot of people have been wondering that and so hopefully, for the first and last time, I can address it and we can move on from it."


She said we lived in a time of instant gratification where people expect access to information

"So when you can't access information, there's a bit of a disconnect there because people want to know why.

"And, for me, the why is very simple: Because it's not my story to tell.

"When someone leaves us, it affects so many people, whether or not it's someone who has a public profile. When someone leaves your life, it affects a whole community of people, and each one of them is dealing with that loss in a different way.

"I feel like it isn't constructive to continue to vocalise the way that I might feel, because it may impede someone else's process. And so this is what makes sense to me... to approach this moment in my time with respect and to go gently with it."

Leong, who along with Zonfrillo and Andy Allen joined MasterChef in 2020, explained that she'd made a conscious decision to remain quiet about more personal aspects of her life when accepting the judges job.

"That's just me - that’s not my family, that's not my close friends, that's not the people in my immediate orbit. It isn't fair for them to be dragged through things."

She said she would happily share about "the broader themes in life" and lessons she'd learned along the way.

"That's sort of the line for me: if it helps someone else, great. But still, all of us should reserve the right for keeping some things private. Privacy is at an all-time low, and I think we should value it more."

Feature image: Instagram/@fooderati.

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