When four of the most famous faces on television cooking shows dine out, they’re inevitably going to turn heads, but sharing a meal for this famous group was all about toasting an absent partner.
British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay joined Australian counterparts Matt Moran, George Calombaris and Shannon Bennett to memorialize Jock Zonfrillo in an intimate vigil.
The four-piece quartet gathered to pay tribute to their deceased friend and exchange stories over food and drink a few rounds.
Zonfrillo, the beloved MasterChef judge and father of four, was found dead in a Carlton hotel room on April 30 at the age of 46.
Gordon Ramsay joined some of Australia’s best-known celebrity chefs for a dinner in Melbourne on Saturday evening in memory of his late friend Jock Zonfrillo. (From left on photo: Shannon Bennett, George Calombaris, Ramsay and Matt Moran)
Gordon Ramsay (right) and Matt Moran (left) talk about a dinner they had with fellow chefs George Calombaris and Shannon Bennett in honor of their late work Jock Zonfrillo. Ramsay and Moran were pictured at Moran’s Sydney Harbor restaurant on Thursday
Moran booked a table for four at Di Stasio restaurant in Melbourne last Saturday night for what Ramsay told Daily Mail Australia was a sombre occurrence.
“The atmosphere was solemn,” Ramsay said. ‘Intense. And then we drank a few glasses of wine to relax and started thinking about those incredible memories.”
“It was bleak because every time we went off-piste we came back to some of the magical moments we had witnessed and celebrated.”
The 56-year-old has just completed a hugely successful three-day event residence of his restaurant Gordon Ramsay at Moran’s fine diner Aria in Sydney Harbour.
It was the first time Ramsay had taken his three-Michelin-starred restaurant in London with its signature shellfish raviolo and pecan praline dessert to an overseas location.
Zonfrillo (pictured in 2017) died on April 30 at the age of 46. He is survived by his third wife, Lauren Fried, and his four children: adult daughters Ava and Sophia, from his first two marriages, and six-year-old daughters. -old Alfie and two-year-old Isla, with Fried
Moran and his chef friends may be scattered all over the world, but Zonfrillo’s death had united them all.
Ramsay, Bennett and Zonfrillo all once worked under legendary British chef Marco Pierre White.
A regular on MasterChef like Ramsay and Moran, Bennett is best known for his days running restaurant Vue de Monde in Melbourne.
Calombaris is a former MasterChef judge who has also run a string of eateries in the Victorian capital.
“As a chef community, I’m not just close to the boys from Melbourne,” said 53-year-old Moran. “The Melbourne guys are close to the Sydney guys.
“I have chefs all over the world and we are a very small community and when something like this happens, as tragic as it is, it brings us all closer together.”
Ramsay has completed a successful three-day residency of his restaurant Gordon Ramsay at Moran’s fine diner Aria in Sydney Harbour. He will be photographed at Aria on Wednesday evening
This week marked the first time Ramsay had set up his three-Michelin-starred restaurant in London’s Chelsea with his signature shellfish raviolo and pecan praline dessert in an overseas location
That’s exactly what Moran, Ramsay, Bennett and Calombaris did last Saturday night.
“It was all about the memories, which was great,” said Moran. “It was more remembering and toasting him.
“There was a lot of talk about being young chefs and growing up in that environment.”
Ramsay said Zonfrillo had been kind to his daughter Tilly when she competed in Celebrity MasterChef Australia in 2021.
“Just from a father’s point of view, the way he treated Tilly and the way he took care of Tilly outside of production shows what that man was and what he stood for and how good he was,” he said.
Ramsay reunited with George Calombaris, Shannon Bennett and Matt Moran for a bittersweet catch up as they exchanged stories about Zonfrillo over food and various drinks
After dinner, Bennett, 47, posted a photo to Instagram of the chefs posing at the venue, captioning it: “That hangover was for you, Jock Zonfrillo mate. RIP brother.’
The four men stood before one table with several empty wine glasses on it.
Calombaris, 44, also posted a photo of the group, writing: ‘A great dinner with some beautiful people. I love you guys.’
The following night, The Sunday Project aired a special tribute to the Zonfrillo ahead of the premiere of its final season of MasterChef Australia.
Ramsay burst into tears on that program when he described how Zonfrillo “lit up the kitchen.”
“The ripples have been devastating. No one gets over this quickly. If there’s one thing we’ve done as chefs is we’ve united and we’re talking about the good times,” he said, fighting back tears.
‘S**t. Sorry. It’s just so painful. That’s all,’ he added.
Australian chef Curtis Stone remembered Zonfrillo as a “kind, honest, sincere and honest” man.
Stone called the plain-spoken Scot someone who “treated everyone with respect – unless they didn’t deserve it then he wouldn’t.”
Zonfrillo is survived by his third wife, Lauren Fried, and his four children: adult daughters Ava and Sophia from his first two marriages, and six-year-old Alfie and two-year-old Isla with Fried.
Sources said police found nothing suspicious or unusual in Zonfrillo’s hotel room and it appeared he had died of natural causes. A report is being prepared for the coroner.