jock zonfrillo andy allen masterchef

MasterChef’s Andy Allen reveals heart-wrenching decision to come back following Jock Zonfrillo’s death

"I actually wasn't sure if I was going to come back"

Andy Allen faced a “big decision” about whether to return as a Judge for season 16 of MasterChef Australia in 2024.

After the tragic loss of Jock Zonfrillo before the season 15 premiere in 2023, returning to the famed kitchen was a daunting task, particularly because of the fierce friendship he had with his co-host and friend.

“There are a lot of feelings and there were feelings from before we began filming, to be honest,” Andy told Chattr in an interview before the April 22 premiere.

Melissa Leong, Andy Allen and Jock Zonfrillo
Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo. MasterChef Australia, Ten

“I actually wasn’t sure if I was going to come back. It was a really big decision for me because Jock and I were two peas in a pod and we just loved doing it [judging] with each other.”

He continued: “I’m so glad I could build up the courage to come back because I would so regret it. I would so regret that because of just what MasterChef is, and being able to fly the flag for Jock and continue on what we started with Poh [Ling Yeow], Jean-Christophe [Novelli] and Sophia [Levin] and all our new contestants, I’m so happy with how it’s turned out.”

Andy Allen says the new judges embody the “MasterChef energy”

Speaking of his new judges, Andy said that the foursome embody the “MasterChef energy”.

“The MasterChef kitchen brings out the best in whoever walks through the doors whether you’re a contestant or a judge. It’s just such a positive and energetic environment,” he said before admitting it was also “instant” with himself, Jock and Mel [Leong] and any guest chefs that walked through the doors.

“Yes, Jean-Christophe, Poh and Sofia have amazing talent, but it really is brought out on the show,” he said. “Also they’re just bloody good people and if they’re bloody good people, I know it’s gonna work.”

MasterChef judges 2024
Sofia Levin, Andy Allen, Poh Ling Yeow and Jean Christophe Novelli. Ten

Of course, for many fans, the series became synonymous with the second generation judges who joined the series in 2019 and now, the 35-year-old will continue that legacy.

“I feel proud,” he said. “I’ll never forget being a contestant on season four and feeling so out of my depth in that kitchen. I am really proud because I’ve grown so much as a person and I’ve been able to do that while being part of the best cooking show in the world.

“I owe so much to MasterChef and I’m just really really proud that I can give back to it and do a good job.”

Watch MasterChef Australia on 10 and 10Play.

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