MasterChef judge Jock Zonfrillo’s daughter speaks out for first time since his sudden death

Ava Zonfrillo, the eldest daughter ofMasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo, has spoken out for the first time since his unexpected death on 30 April.

The celebrity chef died suddenly at the age of 46. His death was confirmed by Network 10 on 1 May, as well as by his family, who shared a statement.

Posting a series of photographs and videos of her father, Ava wrote on Instagram: “Still can’t accept that we’ll be remembering you for more time than we had you, but doesn’t mean we’ll love you any less.”

The 22-year-old added: “I love you dad, always.”

Her poignant post included a photograph of her as a toddler with Zonfrillo, with both wearing comedy glasses with thick black eyebrows and large plastic noses attached.

Other more recent photos show her posing with her father at various events. Ava also shared two clips of Zonfrillo, with one of him blowing a kiss at the camera.

Friends of the family sent Ava love and well wishes in the comments. Chef Alex Prichard wrote: “We are all here for you! Love you both.”

Meanwhile, Australian designer Collette Dinnigan sent “so much love” to Ava and wine expert Samantha Payne said: “Love you dearly and will be giving you the biggest of hugs soon, my darling friend. We’ve got you.”

Zonfrillo was laid to rest at a private funeral two weeks ago. The service was attended by his wife, Lauren Fried, and their four children. A select group of family and friends, some who flew to Sydney from other countries, were also in attendance.

During the service, Fried said in her eulogy: “We were two halves that found each other at the exact moment in life when we were ready.

“We were ready for that big love to live a life of adventure, to become parents together, to imagine extraordinary things and to actually make them happen.”

The late chef, who was born in Glasgow, was found at a hotel in Melbourne on Lygon Street the day before the 2023 season of MasterChef was set to be aired. The show was postponed following news of Zonfrillo’s passing.

According to Daily Mail Australia, police believe that Zonfrillo died of natural causes and nothing unusual or suspicious was discovered in the hotel room where he was found.

As news of his sudden passing broke, many in the food industry paid tribute to Zonfrillo, including Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White.

Pierre White praised his former apprentice chef and said: “Very few chefs have an inquisitive mind, an intellectual mind and a creative mind. That’s what makes him special, that’s what makes him rare.”