They were both tattooed rock stars of the culinary world who overcame their addiction to become celebrity chefs.
But Anthony Bourdain and Jock Zonfrillo, who passed away at the age of 46, leaving behind a wife and four children, were never quite comfortable in the spotlight.
The lives – and tragic deaths – of the two men bear chilling similarities.
They all died in hotels while working: Celebrated New York chef and writer Bourdain was in France filming an episode of his hugely successful CNN travel and food show Parts Unknown when he was found dead in his hotel room. He was 61.
It was later revealed that he struggled with fame and heartbreak in the days leading up to his death.
MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo died in Melbourne aged 46, his family have confirmed. A Victoria Police spokesman told Daily Mail Australia they found Zonfrillo’s body around 2am Monday after being called to a hotel on Lygon Street in Carlton for a welfare check.
The lives – and tragic deaths – of Zonfrillo and Anthony Bourdain (pictured) bear striking similarities
Zonfrillo’s body was discovered by police around 2am on Monday, after they were called to an address – believed to be a hotel – on Lygon Street in Carlton, inner-north Melbourne, for a welfare check.
His death comes as the 15th season of MasterChef, starring Jamie Oliver as a guest judge, was set to premiere Monday night on Ten. The show will not air this week due to Zonfrillo’s passing.
While Bourdain committed suicide, police have not yet released a cause of death for Zonfrillo.
Victoria Police told Daily Mail Australia the situation is not being treated as suspicious. A report is being prepared for the coroner.
Zonfrillo’s autobiography Last Shot was described as a mix of Bourdain’s best-selling memoir Kitchen Confidential and Irvine Welsh’s novel Trainspotting, which follows a group of heroin-addicted friends in Edinburgh.
In fact, both chefs were former heroin addicts who battled their addiction to achieve worldwide fame.
Bourdain (pictured) was in France filming an episode of his hugely successful CNN travel and food show Parts Unknown when he was found dead in his hotel room. He was 61
Bouth Bourdain and Zonfrillo (pictured, second from left) were great admirers of chef Marco Pierre White (center)
Zonfrillo battled a nine-year heroin addiction and took his last hit in the toilets at London’s Heathrow Airport before boarding a flight to Australia at the turn of the millennium.
The trip provided him with a clean slate to turn his life around and he later became a celebrated chef and TV personality in his adopted country.
Meanwhile, Bourdain spoke and wrote openly about his past heroin use – as well as other Class A drugs – while working at a Soho restaurant in New York before kicking drug addiction in the 1980s.
Zonfrillo and Bourdain both shared a reverence for chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White, with the latter claiming he “gave us all a voice, gave us hope, a new template for survival.”
Scottish-born Zonfrillo, whose real name is Barry, calls White “a father figure” who “saved my life” in his memoir.
“Of all the chefs I’ve worked for, he was the best teacher,” he said.
In his memoirs, he writes that he was homeless for the first three months of working for White and that when his boss realized he was sleeping in the restaurant, he found him shelter and loaned him money.
Zonfrillo overcame a heroin addiction as a teenager in Glasgow and became one of Australia’s most famous chefs. He often wore a kilt on MasterChef as a tribute to his roots
However, there was controversy after the publication of Last Shot in 2021, when White alleged that Zonfrillo had exaggerated their relationship.
“Jock isn’t a bad man,” White said Good weekend. “He has a natural intellect and he is very kind. The only problem is that almost everything he’s written about me is false.’
Both Bourdain and Zonfrillo’s forearms were heavily tattooed and their rugged good looks garnered legions of fans.
Zonfrillo was nicknamed “Hot Scot” and “Hot Jocklate” after American singer Katy Perry flirted with him on an episode of MasterChef in 2020.
Meanwhile, Bourdain had admirers all over the world and was in a relationship with Italian film actress Asia Argento at the time of his death.
Zonfrillo spoke candidly about his battle with fear.
“I never thought I’d have anxiety, let alone admit it,” he said.
“It’s a real working-class problem to arrive somewhere and think you’re not good enough,” he confessed.
“For me, I’ve done that all my life. With every job I’ve had, I’ve felt like I wasn’t good enough to be there.”
Bourdain also opened up about feeling imposter syndrome in an interview with Biography.com in 2016, when he questioned whether he had been living a “charmed” existence.
Zonfrillo is survived by his third wife, Lauren Fried, and his four children: teenage daughters Ava and Sophia, from his first two marriages, and six-year-old Alfie and two-year-old Isla, with Fried. (Zonfrillo, Fried, and their two children are seen here in a recent family photo)
Channel 10 cancels MasterChef after Jock’s death
Network 10 has announced that MasterChef Australia is being postponed following the sudden death of Judge Jock Zonfrillo.
The cooking show’s fifteenth season was set to premiere on Monday, but Ten has confirmed it won’t air this week.
The network had high hopes for its final season, having secured British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver as the fourth judge in a major coup.
“I don’t know anything about ‘charmed,'” he said.
“But I’m still here—in my third life, or maybe in the fourth. Who knows? I should have died when I was twenty.
“I became successful in my 40s. I became a father when I was in my fifties. I feel like I’ve stolen a car – a very nice car – and I keep looking in the rearview mirror for flashing lights. But nothing has happened yet.’
Zonfrillo revealed that he carried a set of worry beads to cope with his mental health condition.
“When I’m nervous or anxious, my brain just starts racing, like I’m thinking irrationally, so using the worry beads calms that noise in my brain,” he said.
“I always carry a set of worry beads with me, so when they’re not in my hand, they’re in my pocket.”
Bourdain is said to have a two pack a day smoking habit and friends are said to have anxiety and compulsive disorders.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville, who made a documentary about Bourdain after his death, said the chef had many issues he had never formally addressed or confronted.
“He was dealing with agoraphobia, shyness and fear. He also had OCD, depression, bipolar episodes and addictive traits,” Mr. Neville told Vanity Fair.
Zonfrillo is survived by his third wife, Lauren Fried, and his four children: teenage daughters Ava and Sophia, from his first two marriages, and six-year-old Alfie and two-year-old Isla, with Fried.
The Scotsman’s family made the devastating announcement on Instagram Monday afternoon – about 12 hours after officers made the shocking discovery.
“With hearts completely shattered and with no way of knowing how to go through life without him, we are devastated to share that Jock has passed away,” the statement read.
“For those who crossed his path, became his mate or were lucky enough to be his family, keep this proud Scotsman in your heart when you have your next whisky.”
For confidential support call Lifeline: 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636