Andy Allen: ‘It hit me like a ton of bricks’

Andy Allen: ‘It hit me like a ton of bricks’

Some of the best famous chefs in the world last night paid tribute to the late Jock Zonfrillo, in a special episode of The Sunday Project.

Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, Maggie Beer, Curtis Stone, Shannon Bennett and Matt Moran all remembered their fellow colleague who died last week, aged 46. There was also a memoir from Nigella Lawson.

They joined such famous faces as Jimmy Barnes, Rebecca Gibney, Tommy Little, Carrie Bickmore and Grace Tame.

A tearful Master Chef Judge Andy Allen, interviewed by Sarah Harris in the Master Chef kitchen, said the devastating news had “hit me like a ton of bricks…. he is the heart and soul of this place. It’s really hard to stay here. I think this is the hardest that has actually hit me.

“He’s always been there for me, and I’m just struggling to realize that he’s really gone.”

Allen said he had three lunches with Zonfrillo on April 29, less than two days before his death. Zonfrillo was enthusiastic about returning to his family and to Rome, and to launch the new one Master Chef season on the 10th.

“We just talked loudly to each other for three hours. It was so normal. He was in such a good mood. She was so excited about the launch of the show.

He added that Zonfrillo had seen the first episode.

“It’s the best episode I’ve ever seen,” is literally what he said to me as we were cracking some dough. And it is critical. So when he says it’s the best episode he’s ever seen, (then) it’s the best episode he’s ever seen.