Jock Zonfrillo’s daughter Isla celebrates first birthday without dad

The wife of late MasterChef judge Jock Zonfrillo has shared an emotional message as the family celebrates his youngest daughter’s first birthday without her dad.

Australians across the country were rocked by the news of Zonfrillo’s death earlier this year, with the chef found dead at a Melbourne hotel room in the early hours of May 1, after police received a call requesting a “welfare check”.

The family had recently moved out of their Melbourne home as they prepared for a fresh start overseas.

He is survived by his widow, Lauren Fried, and four children, Alfie, Isla, Ava and Sophie.

Ms Fried shared a touching tribute to her late husband to Instagram on Tuesday, after the family celebrated Isla’s third birthday over the weekend.

“We had Isla’s first birthday party without her Papa,” Lauren captioned the post, which was shared to Zonfrillo’s Instagram page.

“Jock would have been up all night the day before, the first one out of bed in the morning. Menu planning for weeks. Then I would have fallen asleep on Jock’s chest after the party, talking through how it went, if Isla had a good time, did people eat and drink enough, would she remember any of it.

“This year I did a BBQ and the rest of the food was outsourced to my sister and Mark. Ava Zonfrillo blew up the balloons. Uber delivered the cake. I cried as I dressed the kids. I fell asleep without Jock.

“This exact day last year we were flying back from Rome, having started the plan for our new life together in Italy. A dream that never came to be.”

“For Jock to miss these days seems unfair and unbearable, and another of the firsts we are pushing through as a family. But our little ones are finding joy again, they are being the happy and cheeky children they always were, and I’m grateful that life keeps dragging us forward day by day,” Ms Fried finished the post.

People sent their love to the grieving family, including Zonfrillo’s fellow MasterChef judge Andy Allen.

“So much Papa in that little legend. Happy birthday Isla!” Allen wrote.

“Big love ❤️ happy birthday Isla!” former MasterChef contestant Brent Draper said.

Former Australian of the Year Grace Tame added: “Happy Birthday to little Isla, and eternal love to all you.”

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