Marco Pierre White has been criticized for his silence over the shocking death of Jock Zonfrillo, who began his career with the famous British chef.
The 46-year-old MasterChef star was found dead in a Melbourne hotel on Sunday, sparking a wave of grief from his Australian colleagues and international culinary superstars, including Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay.
However, White has come under fire on social media for not publicly commenting on the tragedy.
Instagram users attacked the Michelin-starred chef after he posted a photo of him posing with his son Luciano in Bangkok a day after Zonfrillo’s death.
‘I am shocked! This is as insensitive as it gets. What bad timing to post this!’ one person responded to the message.
“Where’s the comment about losing Jock,” another wrote.
Marco Pierre White (left, with his son Luciano) has come under fire for his silence on Jock Zonfrillo’s death in his latest post on Instagram (pictured)
A Twitter user also expressed his disappointment with the Michelin-starred British chef
The famous chef also came under fire on Twitter. “I didn’t notice a condolence message for Jock from Marco Pierre White,” one person tweeted.
Zonfrillo began his career with White in the UK, crediting his mentor for saving his life after giving him a job and shelter when he was a homeless heroin addict in London in the 1990s.
But White raised questions about his relationship with Zonfrillo when the MasterChef Australia star shared his personal demons in his memoir Last Shot.
“Jock isn’t a bad man,” White said Good weekend last year.
“He has a natural intellect and he is very kind. The only problem is that almost everything he’s written about me is false.’
Zonfrillo was homeless when he got a job in the kitchen at White’s in 1994. He started sleeping in the locker room at work and was a month behind on payments to his heroin dealers.
He claimed to have told White all about his addiction and the fact that he had no roof over his head.
“He didn’t fire me. Instead, he picked up the phone, called the hostel and asked them to quickly put me on the waiting list and find me a bed,” Zonfrillo recalls.
British chef Marco Pierre White said of Zonfrillo: ‘He is very nice. The only problem is that almost everything he wrote about me is untrue.”
In the meantime, he hooked me up with some guys from Canteen, the other restaurant he owned, and made sure I could sleep on the couch until I got my act together. He even offered me some money to save me.’
After the publication of the memoir, White questioned much of what had been written about his exchanges with Zonfrillo, saying the pair actually had very little to do with each other, despite the Briton being mentioned 157 times in the book.
“I never saw (Zonfrillo) much and he only worked in my kitchen for a very short time,” he told Good Weekend.
Zonfrillo was found dead by police at around 2am on Monday at the age of 46 at a hotel on Lygon Street in Carlton, Melbourne.
His death is not considered suspicious by police.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, a guest star on the now-delayed first episode of the new season of Masterchef Australia, led the Instagram tribute.
“We had the best time working together for this year’s chef (sic), I can’t say how good it was working with him!” he wrote.
Gordon Ramsay said he was saddened to hear the terrible news.
“I really enjoyed the time we spent together at MasterChef in Australia. Sending all my love to Lauren and the family during this difficult time,” he said.
Nigella Lawson tweeted that she couldn’t stop thinking about the Scottish-Australian chef’s children.
“So many are plunged into the deepest sorrow. My heart goes out to them. And I hope their wishes for privacy are respected,” she wrote.
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