Chef Jock Zonfrillo has died at 46 years old.

In a statement posted to Instagram, the Zonfrillo family confirmed the Glasgow-born chef had died in Melbourne on Sunday April 30. They asked for privacy while they grieve.

“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. So many words can describe him, so many stories can be told, but at this time we’re too overwhelmed to put them into words.”

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Zonfrillo leaves an impressive legacy. One of Australia’s most celebrated – and internationally-acclaimed – culinary talents, in recent years he had become a household name in his role as a judge on Masterchef Australia.

Network 10 and Endemol Shine Australia, which produce Masterchef, issued a statement on Monday.

“Network 10 and Endemol Shine Australia are deeply shocked and saddened at the sudden loss of Jock Zonfrillo ... Jock was known to Australians as a chef, bestselling author, philanthropist and Masterchef judge, but he will be best remembered as a loving father, husband, brother and son.”

Masterchef, which was due to return to screens tonight, will not air this week.

Zonfrillo catapulted onto the national scene when he joined the cast of the reality show in late 2019, but his food journey started decades earlier.

He apprenticed at The Turnberry Hotel in Scotland at just 15 years of age before working at Marco Pierre White’s eponymous restaurant in Knightsbridge, London. He then spent a decade working in Sydney before moving to Adelaide to open Orana in 2013. Now closed, Orana was widely considered one of Australia’s best restaurants, and Zonfrillo’s non-profit, the Orana Foundation, is dedicated to researching, documenting, commercialising and promoting native Australian foods.

Zonfrillo is survived by his wife, Lauren Fried, their two young children, Alfie and Isla, and Zonfrillo’s two elder daughters, Ava and Sophia.