“I was lost before Lauren”
The Australian Women's Weekly|April 2021
It may seem a charmed life, but MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo has had serious lows with the highs. He tells Sue Smethurst how love saved him.
Sue Smethurst

Jock Zonfrillo raises his three-year-old son, Alfie, high above his head and playfully blows raspberries on the toddler’s tummy, soaking up fits of giggles. “I’m a complete clown – totally immature most of the time,” Jock says, laughing.

With the blond poppet now wedged on his hip, the Scottish chef, once described as a “kilt-wearing firebrand”, moves like bottled lightning around the kitchen, making coffee for the TV crew filming at his Melbourne home while checking on wife Lauren as she feeds the latest addition to their family, 14-week-old Isla.

“He’s a tornado!” laughs Lauren, 40, a business advisor and marketing specialist who regularly appears as a panellist on ABC series Gruen.

“He’s got a lot of energy, he’s always fun to be around and he’s a very proud Scot,” she adds, recalling how Jock would play bagpipe music when Alfie was a baby to alert him that it was dinnertime. “When the bagpipes played, that meant it was time to eat, but sometimes he played bagpipe music if he was homesick or we had friends around, and poor little Alfie would be sitting there with his mouth gaping open, waiting for food. His Scottish charm is one of the things I love about him – but, thankfully, there’s no bagpipes with Isla.”

Taking a rare break from filming the new season of Network Ten’s MasterChef Australia, the Michelin-starred cook, who cut his kitchen teeth under luminaries Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay, has invited The Weekly into his home to meet the family that changed his life.

The twice-divorced chef wasn’t looking for love when he met Lauren five years ago, but they’ve been inseparable ever since. “She’s changed me,” Jock, 44, says frankly. “I was lost before she came along. I think my staff recognised it … I didn’t think I was ready to meet someone but we just clicked straight away.

“With Loz,” as he affectionately calls her, “life is just easier. We fit together so perfectly; we were all-in from day one, living life to the fullest. She is a beautiful addition to my life and it’s these moments with my family, rolling around on the carpet being silly with the kids or with Loz, that I’m truly happiest.”

The great disrupter

In October 2019, Jock was chosen to be one of the new MasterChef Australia judges after the iconic trio of Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris left the popular show. They were big-name shoes to fill, but Jock didn’t hesitate when he got the call to join the show – and his instincts were spot-on.

The new judges – Jock, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen – proved an instant hit with viewers, who relished fresh faces on the 12-year-old show. Jock’s self-deprecating humour endeared him to fans, but his star exploded when he caught the eye of US pop star Katy Perry.

The singer, appearing on the show as a guest judge, had sprained her hand and cheekily asked Jock to hand-feed her: “Put it in my mouth, Daddy …” she cooed, sending social media into a meltdown.

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