It’s been 12 months of milestones and missing beloved MasterChef judge Jock Zonfrillo

‘We were two halves’
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“Without Jock, the days seem like they’ve been drained of colour, but today is one of pride and celebration,” his wife and widow Lauren Zonfrillo bravely shared as she accepted MasterChef’s 2024 AACTA Award.

And it has been a year of tears and triumphs for Lauren and Jock’s four kids, teenage daughters Ava and Sophia from his first two marriages, and Alfie, six, and Isla, three, who he shared with Lauren, as they’ve learned to navigate life without their Scotsman, who filled their days with his huge laugh and even bigger heart. 

It was one year ago that MasterChef fans were anticipating the start of a new season, only to be left heartbroken when news broke of Jock’s sudden passing.

The beloved MasterChef judge died of natural causes in a Melbourne hotel room on April 30, 2023, aged just 46, with Ten bravely deciding to air his final season. 

Andy and Lauren accepted the AACTA award on behalf of Jock. (Image: Instagram)


Now, almost 12 months later, it’s clear that his memory lives on, not just through his lifetime of career achievements but also through his family and friends. 

As we approach the anniversary, his loving wife Lauren and best friend and fellow MasterChef judge Andy Allen paid tribute to the chef as they heartbreakingly share the milestones he has missed.

Taking to social media, Lauren recently looked back at the last dinner that she and Jock shared with Andy and his wife Alex, a few weeks before his passing. 

“Our last dinner together before we flew to Rome,” she wrote, referring to their decision to leave Australia and start over in Italy. “I always loved these two, but never more than now.”

Lauren with Andy and his wife Alex. (Image: Instagram)

Andy has also movingly shared what a huge influence Jock has had on his life.“You’ve taught me so much about food, but it’s the lessons I learnt about what it means to be a great father, husband and friend that I’ll take away from our time together and will last forever,” he wrote after his death.

Being a father to his four children was Jock’s greatest achievement, and Lauren has kept fans and friends updated on the progress of their two kids and his daughter Ava, who she has a close bond with.

And while she’s done her best to step into his shoes, the biggest thing that she’s struggled with is replicating “the cheekiness that was his parenting superpower”. 

No doubt a bittersweet moment for Lauren was sending their son Alfie to his first day of school without Jock by his side.

“The wee man’s first day of school,” she captioned a picture on Instagram alongside a sweet snap of Alfie with his bag on. 

Alfie recently started school. (Image: Instagram)

Equally tough was their first Christmas.

“Watching our gorgeous children navigating their first Xmas, I can see now that tragedy will make them,” she wrote. 

“It will make them fierce and fearless, they’ll have a strength no-one can quite put their finger on. And they will undoubtedly have a life bigger than the one Jock and I dreamt for them because of this.”

But perhaps the hardest part has been grieving the future they won’t be able to have together. 

Sharing a touching video montage of their wedding day, January 1, 2017, Lauren poured her heart out, describing what she imagined their future would have been.

“Our dream of growing old together in the middle of nowhere in Italy – kids and dogs under our feet, you laughing your enormous laugh, falling asleep on your chest – is so vivid. That’s where I imagine you now.”

As she said at his funeral, “We were two halves that found each other at the exact right 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 things and to actually make them happen.”

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