How MasterChef Australia Will Honour Judge Jock Zonfrillo’s Legacy

Image courtesy of Channel 10
MasterChef Australia: Secrets & Surprises judges Melissa Leong, Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen
MasterChef returns to screens this weekend in its 15th season called MasterChef Australia: Secrets & Surprises. It's one that will resonate in a different way, as we remember judge Jock Zonfrillo, who passed away on Sunday, April 30.
The popular cooking show — which was filmed in advance — and the wider Channel 10 family will pay tribute to the late chef and television personality.
The network explained in an official statement that viewers will see Zonfrillo, along with judges Melissa Leong and Andy Allen, doing what he did best on MasterChef, which was mentoring cast members and being a source of inspiration for aspiring cooks.
"MasterChef Australia Judge Jock Zonfrillo took great pride in challenging and coaching the contestants and of course inspiring a nation of home cooks," the statement reads.
"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."
The new season will premiere straight after a special edition of The Project. The news and current affairs show will dedicate airtime to remembering Zonfrillo and his important work in the food and entertainment industries.
"With contributions from friends he held closely, the show will honour Jock by reflecting on his personal and professional life in a celebration of his incredible achievements," the statement reads.
MasterChef Australia: Secrets & Surprises wrapped up filming earlier this year. It was originally scheduled to air on Monday, May 1, but its release was pushed back following the sad news.
Channel 10 has reportedly spent time this week reviewing already-edited episodes to ensure that all scenes come across respectfully in the wake of Zonfrillo's death.
"With all episodes already in the vault, they will be watching every episode carefully to ensure there is nothing that will distress viewers and more pertinently, family and close friends," an apparent source told The Daily Telegraph. "It is not something you can get wrong so they will take their time."
On Monday May 1, Channel 10 confirmed that Zonfrillo passed away on Sunday, April 30.
"This is a terribly sad day for Jock’s family and friends, his Network 10 and Endemol Shine Australia colleagues and for MasterChef fans around Australia and the world," Beverley McGarvey, Executive Vice President, Paramount ANZ, said in a statement.
"Jock was an extraordinary man. He was a wonderful colleague and friend, and we feel very privileged to have had him play such an important and impactful role in MasterChef. Despite all his notable professional milestones, nothing brought him more joy or happiness than his family. Our thoughts are with them at this very difficult time."
Zonfrillo's family also issued a statement, describing him as "irreplaceable".
"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," read a statement from Zonfrillo's family.
"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. For those who crossed his path, became his mate, or were lucky enough to be his family, keep this proud Scot in your hearts when you have your next whisky.
"We implore you to please let us grieve privately as we find a way to navigate through this and find space on the other side to celebrate our irreplaceable husband, father, brother, son and friend."
MasterChef judges Leong and Allen also paid tribute to their co-star and dear friend 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," Leong wrote as part of a longer post dedicated to Zonfrillo.
Allen spoke about the ways in which he'd miss the late TV star.
"I'll miss the way you mentored me and every contestant that walked into the MasterChef kitchen, 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," he wrote.
MasterChef Australia: Secrets & Surprises will premiere on Sunday, May 7 at 7:30pm on Channel 10 and 10 Play, following a special edition of The Sunday Project, which will pay tribute to Jock Zonfrillo from 6:30pm.
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