Grace Tame has thanked Jock Zonfrillo for his ‘quiet support through the noise’ in a heartfelt post in the wake of the celebrity chef’s death.
The former Australian of the Year said the 46-year-old, who was found dead inside a Melbourne hotel room on Monday morning, had been a source of inspiration.
‘Posthumous tributes paint glossy, bright pictures,’ Ms Tame wrote.
‘But character is more often built, rebuilt and tested deep in life’s trenches when nobody’s recording. The bigger the battlefield, the bigger the risks and wounds.
‘If anyone’s career and personal legacy embodies passion, love of family, loyalty, resilience, self-sacrifice, generosity, compassion, openness, and humour in the face of hardship and scrutiny – it’s Jock’s.’
Ms Tame revealed Zonfrillo, 46, and his wife Lauren Fried had been quietly mentoring her and her fiance Max Heerey behind the scenes.
Grace Tame has revealed her surprising relationship with Jock Zonfrillo as she thanked the Masterchef judge for his ‘quiet support through the noise’ in a heartfelt post
Zonfrillo (pictured with his Masterchef co-hosts) was found dead inside a Melbourne hotel room at 2am on Monday morning, after police were called to perform a welfare check
Mr Heerey helped create the Grace Tame Foundation, which campaigns and helps fund initiatives to prevent the sexual abuse of children.
‘Max and I took a leap of faith and became partners in both love and work like you and Lauren because you two voluntarily took the time to meet up with and mentor us, but more importantly, because you believed in us,’ she wrote.
‘You did so with no expectation of anything in return.
‘Thank you for your quiet support through the noise. Thank you for your vocal solidarity in the silence.
‘Our hearts are with Lauren, all your children, family, and everyone else who loves you. From two forever young punks to another, you will be sorely missed but never forgotten. With love and respect, GT and Max.’
Zonfrillo was found dead inside a Melbourne hotel room at 2am on Monday morning, after police were called to perform a welfare check.
Ms Tame revealed Zonfrillo (centre), 46, and his wife Lauren Fried, had been quietly mentoring her and her fiance Max Heerey behind the scenes
Channel 10 sources say the immediate future of the show is in the hands of Zonfrillo’s wife, with stakeholders to respect whatever decision she makes (the couple are pictured)
The shock news came just hours before the Masterchef host was due to start promotional duties for the 15th series of the Channel 10 show.
MasterChef’s fifteenth season, featuring Jamie Oliver as a guest judge, was due to premiere on Ten on Monday night.
Producers announced the show would not be airing this week in light of Zonfrillo’s passing and that it wouldn’t return until at least May 8.
The series is now in limbo as network bosses and sponsors – including major stakeholder Coles – consider if and how to proceed in light of Zonfrillo’s death just hours before the show’s first episode.
Channel 10 sources say the immediate future of the show is in the hands of Zonfrillo’s wife, with stakeholders to respect whatever decision she makes.
Zonfrillo was found dead inside a Melbourne hotel room at 2am on Monday morning, after police were called to perform a welfare check
Masterchef producers announced the show would not be airing this week in light of Zonfrillo’s passing and that it wouldn’t return until at least May 8
‘It will really come down to Jock’s family and what they feel he would have wanted,’ the Ten insider told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Commercially, and in terms of timing, this is a disaster. It is simply diabolical.
‘But not even a major TV network would be ghoulish enough to put anything other than the wishes of Jock’s family first and foremost.
‘Ultimately, it will be about whether or not they think he would have wanted the show to go on and if it’s too soon, it’s too soon. There will be a contingency plan whatever decision is made.’
A major possibility is Ten opts to hold this current season until 2024 and air an alternative in its place.
A tribute to Zonfrillo is also in understood to be in production, with plans to air it in the coming days, however a Ten spokesperson declined to elaborate.
His shock passing is not being treated as suspicious by police, with the Scottish-born father-of-four found alone and unresponsive in a hotel on Lygon St, Carlton.
READ THE FULL STATEMENT FROM ZONFRILLO’S FAMILY:
‘With completely shattered hearts and without knowing how we can possibly move through life without him, we are devastated to share that Jock passed away yesterday.
‘So many words can describe him, so many stories can be told, but at this time we’re too overwhelmed to put them into words.
‘For those who crossed his path, became his mate, or were lucky enough to be his family, keep this proud Scot in your hearts when you have your next whisky.
‘We implore you to please let us grieve privately as we find a way to navigate through this, and find space on the other side to celebrate our irreplaceable husband, father, brother, son and friend.’