Jock Zonfrillo will join reality TV franchise MasterChef Australia in 2020 as part of an entirely new judging panel following the departure of Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris.
The Adelaide-based Scottish expat behind east end dining staples Orana and Bistro Blackwood and non-profit native food enterprise the Orana Foundation, Zonfrillo has previously been a regular guest on the show, adding to a small screen resume that includes stints on the Discovery Channel’s Nomad Chef and Channel 7’s Restaurant Revolution. Zonfrillo will be joined on the new panel by food writer and host of SBS TV’s The Chef’s Line Melissa Leong and season four MasterChef winner Andy Allen.
“When I think of MasterChef Australia, I think of discovering new talented cooks with fresh ideas and creativity,” Zonfrillo said in today’s announcement. “There hasn’t been a season yet where I haven’t been surprised by just how talented some of the undiscovered cooks are, so much so, that many of them have worked in my kitchen over the years. I can’t wait to get in that kitchen.”
This latest announcement follows the exodus of all three long-serving members of the MasterChef judging panel in Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris. The trio’s exit in July followed contract disputes and a high profile wage theft controversy surrounding Calombaris’ admission that his restaurant empire had underpaid its staff $7.8 million in staff wages and superannuation.
Speculation over who might step up to replace the show’s founding judges has been simmering since the shake up was announced in July, with South Australian MasterChef alumni Poh Ling Yeow and Adam Liaw both popular potential choices. Yeow, Liaw and 2018 winner Sashi Cheliah may yet make a reappearance – the upcoming 2020 season will be an ‘all stars’ season featuring past contestants duking it out for Zonfrillo, Leong and Allen’s approval.
— Jock Zonfrillo (@Zonfrillo) October 9, 2019
MasterChef: Back To Win will air on Network 10 in 2020