MasterChef Australia future confirmed after death of judge Jock Zonfrillo

The latest season of MasterChef Australia will premiere next week following the sudden death of judge Jock Zonfrillo.

On Monday, a statement released by his loved ones confirmed that the chef had died at the age of 46.

While the premiere episode of the cooking programme had been due to air that night, it was postponed after the shock death of Zonfrillo broke.

Now broadcaster Channel Ten has announced it will go to air next week, while a special tribute show will also run before the episode.

‘With the full support of Jock Zonfrillo’s family, MasterChef Australia will air at 7.30pm on Sunday, 7 May,’ a statement posted to social media began.

‘MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo took great pride in challenging and coaching the contestants and of course inspiring a nation of home cooks.

‘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.’

A special edition of The Sunday Project will pay tribute to Zonfrillo before the premiere.

The statement concluded: ‘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.’

Filming of the latest season, which Zonfrillo judged alongside Andy Allen and Melissa Leong, finished several weeks ago, with the chef flying back from Europe for promotional interviews.

This season will feature guests including Jamie Oliver, Curtis Stone and Maggie Beer.

Previews of the highly anticipated 15th season had been teasing fans for weeks, with Zonfrillo also posting a promo to his Instagram the night before his death.

‘The time has come for MasterChef Australia to kick off a new season filled with Secrets & Surprises! And Jamie Oliver of course!’ he wrote.

Following Zonfrillo’s family sharing the news that he had passed away, Network 10 said it was ‘deeply shocked and saddened at the sudden loss’.

‘Jock was known to Australians as a chef, best-selling author, philanthropist and MasterChef judge but he will be best remembered as a loving father, husband, brother and son.’

Zonfrillo is survived by his wife Lauren Fried and his four children: Ava and Sophia, from his first two marriages, and Alfie and Isla.

MasterChef airs on Channel Ten in Australia.

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