It already seems like a lifetime ago — and hopefully, it will be another lifetime before it happens again — but remember when rumors of an impending lockdown started rumbling in Australia. People began going bananas over bananas at the supermarket? I can tell you one person who wasn’t worried: MasterChef Australia host and acclaimed chef Jock Zonfrillo. It’s the benefit of cooking for a living — food is something that’s never in short supply at the Zonfrillo household. “We always have so much food in our house that even if they closed supermarkets, we could survive for weeks,” the Scotland-bred, Melbourne-based celebrity chef says.
“Dieting isn’t my thing; I love food too much and also have such a fast metabolism I always seem hungry.
“The five key things that are always in my kitchen are pancetta, HP sauce, parmesan, pasta, and lemons. With those up my sleeve, I can make a lot of different dishes. Besides, he had more important things to worry about last year than where his next roll of toilet paper was coming from, with the famously sweary chef’s family growing by one, throwing his world into happy chaos in the way only a new baby can. “We welcomed our little daughter Isla in 2020, so even with all the bad stuff that was going on, when I look back on the year, I really only remember that,” he says. As for keeping on top of his health as we head into the colder months, Zonfrillo says he plans on being consistent — by continuing to not do a whole lot.
“I’m not really known for my health approach,” the 44-year-old laughs.
“I think being a chef for my whole working life has meant that I am used to minimal sleep, more coffee than the average person, and being on my feet a lot.
“I am always getting up well before I have to so I can be one step ahead of where I need to be. On a workday, I like to be on set before I need to be, saying hi to everyone, making endless coffees.”
MasterChef Australia premieres on Monday, April 19 at 7.30pm on Network 10.
JOCK ZONFRILLO ON …
“One of the main lessons I’ve learned from my travels into indigenous communities is to give back more than you take, and that has become a core part of my life.”
“I find hanging out with my kids gets every muscle in my body moving. I have my son on my shoulders, rolling around on the floor, playing in the park. It’s the ultimate form of exercise.”
“It’s really only recently that I have paid attention to when things don’t feel quite right, the feelings of doubt, moments that make me more anxious than normal,” he says.
“For the last couple of decades, I have been leading a team, leading a kitchen, and there’s an expectation of strength, of having thick skin, or being able to have difficult conversations and move on. “Only in the last year or so have I questioned that and realized it’s okay to not be the most confident or in control person in the room.”
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