Jock Zonfrillo, the colorful and controversial chef and TV personality who died suddenly on Sunday, is to be honored on air with twin broadcasts this weekend on Australia’s Network Ten#.
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A new season of “MasterChef,” the reality TV show on which Zonfrillo was a judge, will now launch on Sunday evening, the broadcaster said on Wednesday. The show was due to have begun airing on Monday, but transmission was postponed as news of Zonfrillo’s sudden death was digested by the industry and public. The network said that it had the Zonfrillo family’s blessing for the move.
“With the full support of Jock Zonfrillo’s family, MasterChef Australia will air at 7.30pm on Sunday, 7 May,” Network Ten said in a statement.
The delayed show will be preceded by a special edition of “The Sunday Project,” a long-running talk show. With contributions from friends he held closely, “The Sunday Project” will “honor [Zonfrillo] by reflecting on his personal and professional life in what the broadcaster described as “a celebration of his incredible achievements.”
“ ‘MasterChef Australia’ judge Jock Zonfrillo took great pride in challenging and coaching the contestants and of course inspiring a nation of home cooks,” said the broadcaster in a statement. “It is with Jock in our hearts that we cherish this season and remember the charismatic and big-hearted judge and chef who we knew and loved. Jock will be remembered in the ‘MasterChef Australia’ kitchen for years to come.”
Zonfrillo died in Melbourne at the age of 46. No cause of death has been disclosed. While reports say that the police are not treating his death as suspicious, Australian news media have sought to explain the background to his demise. News.com.Au reported that Zonfrillo had recently moved to Rome, Italy, and had returned to Melbourne for the show’s launch. The Daily Mail newspaper reported that he had secretly been suffering from bowel cancer.
Born as Barry Zonfrillo in Glasgow, Scotland, he began his culinary career in the U.K. before moving to Australia.
There he married three times and opened Bistro Blackwood and Restaurant Orana in Adelaide, with the latter winning significant culinary awards.
While the restaurants went bankrupt, Zonfrillo enlarged his TV career and became a judge on MasterChef Australia from 2019. He published a biography in 2021.
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