Turning up the heat with Jock Zonfrillo

MasterChef favourite Jock Zonfrillo says we should all add a little spice to our lives.

Who MasterChef host Jock Zonfrillo. Where “Italian part of Melbourne” (Carlton) with wife Lauren Fried and their two children, Alfie, four and Isla, one. Favourite thing La Marzocco GS3 Espresso Machine. My nonno drank coffee and I always thought it was such a cool thing. I tried it as a kid and hated it but as I got older got a taste for it. Lavazza trained me and I’m a qualified barista. Inspiration Homely and comfortable. Home is Where I feel safe and loved.

MasterChef’s Jock Zonfrillo could be forgiven if he ditched home cooking duties from time to time, but the popular host and chef won’t even think of shirking his family responsibilities. “I cook every night for the whole family. For me cooking is who I am and an expression of love in a family home,” he says. MasterChef, which is up for a Logies Most Outstanding Reality Show gong tomorrow night, even influences what’s served up at meal times in the Zonfrillo home.

“Often I am inspired by what I see the contestants do in the MasterChef kitchen and it will inspire a memory in me that I want to recreate.” With four kids ranging in age from 21 years one, (the oldest two from previous relationships) Jock says everyone is served the same meal. “Everyone in the family is pretty outgoing when it comes to food. We’ve always had a rule that you don’t mess around with food – it gets prepared and put in the middle of the table in a communal platter and everyone helps themselves.”

“I hear about parents cooking three different meals for dinner because the kids won’t eat what the parents have and I am honestly shocked. My son Alfie even eats green curry and chilli is not describes as hot or spicy in my house but something that tickles the tongue. You have to start the food journey early with the exception of dialling down the salt.”

Words: Catherine Nikas-Boulos Photos: Eugene Hyland

My kids bought me these glasses for Father’s Day and my wife went to some trouble to find them. We have an ice mould that makes very large round pieces and they fit in perfectly.

For me, it’s a beautiful thing to be able to make pasta by hand, and this pasta maker is phenomenal, it makes about 30 different shapes of pasta. Back in Glasgow I was mesmerised when my nonno would make pasta.

From a very early age he wanted to be up on the bench cooking with me. As I’ve gotten older I got better at parenting. It’s not only a great pleasure to have kids but to have time to be a father.

My wife bought me that for a birthday present. It’s so Scottish with tartan and deer antlers. It’s not unusual to find me sitting in that reading the paper and drinking a whisky.

That is the size of me – about six feet tall and sits in the corner. Loz’s (Lauren’s) father bought it for Alfie’s birthday and every night I sit against it and read Alfie books before bed.

This is a super important Indigenous artefact made with human hair. I saw it in a gallery and I fell in love with it. It was super expensive, but at some point I will give it back to a museum. It’s an important part of history.

Cutting meat is such a pleasure. I always have small goods in the fridge and with some fresh bread and cheese it’s like nothing else. It sounds pretentious but it’s so much better than anything you’ll get in a supermarket. I am a salami hound, a lot of it gets consumed in our house.

My oldest daughter is now 21 and our relationship is something I hold close to my heart. Your firstborn changes your life forever and I always have a photo of her with me.

Originally published as MasterChef’s Jock Zonfrillo: “Cooking is who I am and an expression of love in a family home”

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