Jock Zonfrillo became a TV superstar this year as one of the three new judges on MasterChef Australia. After the runaway success of that show, he is about to return to our screens – along with Melissa Leong and Andy Allen – in Junior MasterChef. Here Jock talks about the new show, the amazing little chefs it discovered and his early culinary experiences.
Q: How did the Junior MasterChef experience match up to your expectations?
A: I expected childish behaviour from the judges and that’s exactly what I got. As for the children, they were far better cooks than I could have imagined and they came together as a friendship group straight away. The camaraderie was really great to be part of and to watch.
Q: What surprised you most about working with the kids?
A: My expectation was that they would have learnt their skills and recipes from their parents and grandparents, however, they’re learning from YouTube tutorials, watching over and over, then hitting the kitchen.
Q: What age did you start learning your way around a kitchen?
A: I was always cooking or playing around with food from as early as I could remember. Keep in mind that I was grew up in Scotland, so their idea of speciality food is fish and chips or lorne (square sliced) sausage (minced).
Q: What was Jr Jock’s specialty dish?
A: I was fascinated by one of mum’s books called French Modern Culinary Art. One day I decided to make a recipe out of it; it was just a sauce that went with steak and it took me most of the day. I realise now that it was one of chef Augustine Escoffier’s five mother sauces of classic French cooking, so it would still take me a few hours to make now!
Q: Any advice for parents wanting to introduce their kids to cooking?
A: I’d suggest to kids that they start by cooking something the whole family loves to eat. There’s no point in trying to master how to cook a steak if half the family are vegetarian. And for the parents, make sure they’re actively part of it – not necessarily making the food with their kids, but take an interest, ask questions, flick through cookbooks together, help with showing them techniques if they get stuck.
Junior MasterChef Australia.
Coming Soon To Network 10 And WIN Network.