Jamie Oliver shared selfie with late MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo hours before his death

Jamie Oliver shared a photo with Jock Zonfrillo and the other MasterChef Australia judges just hours before the 46-year-old’s death.

The Scottish chef and restaurateur’s family announced the news of his death on Monday (1 May).

Promoting his upcoming appearance on the Australian version of the cooking competition staple, Oliver had posted a selfie with Zonfrillo on Instagram right before his death was announced.

“Just hanging out with my new buds @zonfrillo, @andyallencooks and @fooderati on the set of @masterchefau!” Oliver wrote.

“So excited for you all to see the first episode of Masterchef Australia! Aussie friends, it’s on TONIGHT at 7:30pm on @channel10au !! Yours truly is in it and there’s some pretty amazing dishes I get to taste!”

The Naked Chef star has since deleted the post and replaced it with another paying tribute to Zonfrillo.

Sharing a different selfie with the chef, Oliver wrote: “I’m in total shock to wake up to the sudden death of chef Jock Zonfrillo. We had the best time working together for this years master chef [sic], I can’t tell how good it was to work with him!

“Jock was very generous to me with his time and spirit in the show and for that I was really grateful…Mellisa, Andy & Jock work as the most inspiring judges and mentors and each have there very own unique view and style…”

He continued: “Jock will be so very missed…I can’t believe I’m writing this…….Sending heart felt love and condolences to all of his family, friends and his second family the master chef team and contestants xxx. Love jamie.”

The news of Zonfrillo’s passing was announced on the day the 2023 season of MasterChef was scheduled to air.

However, the network has since confirmed that the show’s 15th season will no longer air as planned.

“This is a terribly sad day,” Beverley McGarvey, executive vice president of the network’s parent company 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 worked under Michelin-starred chef Marco Pierre White in his early career before establishing himself in Australia as the head chef at Restaurant 41 in Sydney in 2000, going on to open his own Restaurant Orana in 2013.

He is survived by his wife and four children. In 2021, Zonfrillo spoke about the unusual item he was hoping to “normalise” after viewers spotted him carrying around while on MasterChef.