- Publish Date
- Monday, 24 July 2023, 9:37AM
Warning: This contains spoilers for the final episode of MasterChef Australia.
MasterChef Australia has crowned their winners of the 15th season but the usually upbeat episode was bittersweet viewing for fans who bid goodbye to the beloved judge, Jock Zonfrillo.
The celebrity chef tragically passed away on May 1, mere hours before the premiere of the show’s brand-new season. Last night’s grand final marked the last time he will appear on the hit series.
Following the announcement of the winners, the show featured an emotional montage of the star’s five years on the show and it struck a chord with fans who were quick to take to social media to express their feelings.
Sharing clips highlighting his cheeky quips, vulnerability and friendly persona, the tribute had a fitting ending sharing a picture of the cooking show’s entire cast and crew alongside the catchphrase fans had come to expect from the 46-year-old.
“For the last time, go home, make yourselves a cup of tea, put your feet up, be kind to each other and we’ll see you back here tomorrow,” Zonfrillo said.
Many took to Twitter praising Channel Ten for the tribute with one person confessing they were left in tears, “Love this. I couldn’t help but get emotional watching those final scenes of Jock, just heartbreaking. I still can’t believe he’s gone, had to pinch myself,” one said.
Another added, “The tribute for Jock broke me. He was such an incredible chef. How open he was about his mental health will be something I always remember, along with his incredible smile and the way he laughed. You will be missed Jock”.
A third wrote, “Jock Zonfrillo was everything everyone loves about #MasterChefAU. Sparkling, humorous, joyful, ever so enamoured by food and life. A mentor; a mate. The world without him is still so hard to accept. A touching tribute.”
“Watching the #MasterChefAU tribute to Jock was heartbreaking, a reminder to embrace life and be kind to each other. Thank you Channel 10 and to the Zonfrillo family,” another added.
It comes after Zonfrillo’s widow, Lauren Fried made a heartbreaking confession ahead of the episode – which aired in Australia last week.
Posting an Instagram Reel shared on her late husband’s social media account, the mother of two emotionally admitted she hasn’t been able to watch any of the current season but will tune in for the finale to honour her late husband’s memory.
“As a family we’re going to try to watch it,” she said referring to herself, and their children, Alfie, 5, and Isla, 2.
“We haven’t been able to watch this season just yet, something we will do, but we felt that tonight was an important one to watch. Like most families there’s moments across the year that are special, and we used to really enjoy watching the finale together. It was something Jock was really proud of, it was a job he really loved doing, so we’ve decided were going to honour that and keep doing what we would normally do and watch the finale together.”
Lauren said she had received many messages throughout the day from people “and they all seem to be really sad.
“So I just wanted to get on here and say, yes it is sad, but this is something he loved doing and this is not the end of the line for Jock at all. We have so many wonderful recipes of Jock having fun, of travel, of family stuff that I would love to share with everyone and it’s very much a way I can find meaning through all of this.”
She continued to thank fans for their well wishes and said while it has made her sad she also has a lot of “happiness and pride” for her late husband.
The Australian MasterChef judge was found dead at a Melbourne hotel on April 30, the day before the show’s new season was due to air, he was farewelled by a small group of family and close friends in Sydney in May, news.com.au reported.
It is understood the award-winning chef’s wife, the mother to two of Zonfrillo’s four children, sent invitations to a select few to attend the private ceremony. The news outlet also reports there was no wake for the Scottish-Italian celebrity chef who had been secretly battling bowel cancer and is understood to have died of natural causes.
This article was first published in the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.
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