Be Generous – We chat with Jock Zonfrillo

We’ve interviewed some of our favourites in the hospitality world to find out how they’re celebrating the Christmas season and what gift-giving means to them. Our first interview is with Masterchef Australia judge and restauranteur, Jock Zonfrillo,

Jock Zonfrillo is well known for being one of the new judges on Masterchef Australia, but for those who know his extensive history, he’s also recognised for his famous restaurant, Orana, in Adelaide as well as working in some of London’s best eateries. Scottish born and bred, we sat down with Jock to tell us what he is celebrating about this festive season.

Can you tell us about your background for our readers?

I'm a chef by trade. I grew up in Scotland and worked in some pretty serious kitchens in London, then came to Australia in 2000. I have four kids ranging from 19 years old to our little newborn daughter. 

What is the best gift you’ve received? What do you think is the best gift you’ve given?

I'm terrible when I receive gifts, as I always feel bad that someone paid money to buy me something! I think there will be more thoughtful gifts this year. The joy is in the giving and being able to do that face to face is also going to be a bonus.

During 2020, what do you think was the most important thing about keeping your spirits up? How did you connect with friends and family, even when you couldn’t see them?

I took the opportunity to spend quality time with my immediate family, to be present and more relaxed than normal. I cooked a lot with my little 2.5-year-old son, went to the park with him to feed the ducks - it was all really simple stuff that I realised I enjoyed more than the fancy stuff.

More than ever, Christmas needs to be about connection and reaching out to people. For a lot of us, it's a really happy time, but for others, it's very lonely or they feel their loss even more. I've been in both of those positions over the years, so stay in touch with friends whenever you can.

Have you started planning for the silly season yet? 

We are normally overseas for Christmas so this is our first one at home for a while, so it's fair to say we're going a bit over the top. We had a fresh tree delivered early and it was the weekend that my eldest daughter and mother-in-law were staying with us from Sydney, so we got our matching Christmas PJs on, Christmas playlist and champagne and made a night of it. 

Now it's all about menu planning and having the ultimate table decorations for Christmas - I am doing the food while my wife and the kids are Pinteresting the ultimate table.

If someone could give you any gift in the world, what would it be? 

A trip to Scotland. I have been really homesick this year and even though my parents are completely independent and going about their days, knowing we're not able to visit them and for them to meet their newest granddaughter has been tough.

What is the best "gift" of advice that you have received? Is there advice or a story that someone has given you that has stuck with you? 

“Give back more than you take” is my one word of advice. This is something that I have considered throughout my life and will continue to do so! 

Thank you so much for giving us an insight into what gift-giving means to you, Jock. For more information about all the wonderful work that Jock Zonfrillo does, you can check out his Instagram here.

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