Master Chef Justices Melissa Leong and Andy Allen paid tribute to fellow judges Jock Zonfrillo, who died suddenly on Monday at the age of 46.
In a Instagram message Melissa Leong said: “Four years ago, the three of us walked over a cliff and jumped together. I never imagined what an impact your arrival would have in my life, or that we would say goodbye so soon. You were always supposed to be the bulletproof one who survived us all.
“During that time, you showed me what true excellence is like both in and out of the kitchen; your kindness and generosity, the many lives you have lived, the way you have carried so much more on your shoulders than most would ever know.
“Thank you for challenging me every day, for making me better, my workmate and friend, purveyor of great morning coffee, hater of pears, okra and nasturtiums.
“This all feels too raw to process yet, I suspect it will be for some time. Such is the impact of a life lived so big, so lightly, and entirely on your terms.
“My heart goes out to your family, who was and is your life.
“A little glass for you today, and always.”
Andy Allen, too Instagram, wrote: “When I met you 5 years ago I knew our lives were about to change forever. What I didn’t realize is how close Alex and I would get outside the kitchen with you and Lauren and your kids.
“You have become such an inspirational and important part of our lives. Sure, you’ve taught me so much about food, but it’s the lessons I’ve learned about what it means to be a great father, husband, and friend that I will take away from our time together and last forever.
“I will miss how you mentored me and all the contestants that entered the Master Chef kitchen, I will miss you ordering the entire menu no matter how many deep dishes and making me eat every last bite, I will miss your morning coffees on set that made me shiver with the amount of caffeine you managed to extract from every single one bean I will miss the morning FaceTimes with Loz, Alfie and Isla but overall I will miss you taking care of me every single day.
“Thank you for constantly making me laugh and being there when I needed to cry. You truly were the complete package mate and life will never be the same without you. I know you will look down on Loz, Ava, Sophia, Alfie and Isla. Surrender yourself for Jock Zonfrillo”
10 has yet to confirm plans for its completed season of MasterChef: secrets and surprises or prime-time programs from Sunday.