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MasterChef Australia judges pay emotional tribute to chef Jock Zonfrillo

Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo were announced as MasterChef judges in October 2019. (Twitter: Masterchef Australia)

MasterChef Australia judges Melissa Leong and Andy Allen have paid tribute to fellow judge Jock Zonfrillo on social media, after the chef's death earlier this week.

Zonfrillo died in Melbourne, aged 46.

Leong wrote on Instagram that the Scottish-born chef's death "feels too raw to process still".

"I suspect it will for some time," she wrote.

"My heart goes out to your family, who were and are your life.

"A wee dram for you today, and always."

Leong said that she "never could have guessed how much of an impact" Zonfrillo's arrival would have in her life.

"You were always supposed to be the bulletproof one who outlived us all," she said.

"You showed me what true excellence looks like, both in the kitchen and outside of it. Your kindness and generosity, the many lives you've lived, the way you carried far more on your shoulders than most could ever know."

Allen wrote on Instagram that, when he met Zonfrillo five years ago, he "knew our lives were about to change forever".

"What I didn't realise is how close Alex and I would become outside of the kitchen with you, Lauren and your kids," he said.

MasterChef Australia presenters Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo at the Melbourne Cup in 2022. (AAP Image: Joel Carrett)

"Sure, you've taught me so much about food, but it's the lessons I learnt about what it means to be a great father, husband and friend that I'll take away from our time together and will last forever."

Allen said he would miss Zonfrillo looking out for him "every single day".

"I'll miss the way you mentored me and every contestant that walked into the MasterChef kitchen. I'll miss you ordering the entire menu, no matter how many dishes deep and making me eat every last bite," he said.

"You really were the complete package, mate, and life will never be the same without you."

Chefs Kylie Kwong, Jamie Oliver and Matt Moran were among those to respond to Leong and Allen's tributes.

"What a very, very sad time this is," Kwong wrote.

"Wonderful words … this is such a terrible loss," Mr Oliver said.

"Beautiful words … for a beautiful man," wrote Paralympian Dylan Alcott.

The 15th season of MasterChef Australia was due to air on Monday night, but has been postponed.

Allen and Leong's posts join a a number of emotional tributes in the wake of Zonfrillo's shock death.

Chef Jock Zonfrillo died in Melbourne this week, aged 46. (Supplied)

Victoria Police told the ABC on Monday that officers were called to do a welfare check at an address in Carlton early on Monday morning, where they found Zonfrillo's body.

They did not reveal a cause of death, but said there were no suspicious circumstances.

Network 10 and Endemol Shine released a statement about the judge's death on Monday afternoon, calling Zonfrillo a "beloved member of the MasterChef family".

The ABC has contacted Network 10 and Endemol Shine for further comments.

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