Inside the swanky hotel where star chef Jock Zonfrillo was found dead

Inside the luxury boutique hotel above a wine bar where Jock Zonfrillo spent his final hours – before the celebrity chef was found dead in a plush $650-a-night room at 2am

  • MasterChef judge died in Lygon Street hotel
  • Network Ten in talks over MasterChef’s future
  • The 46-year-old star chef was found dead on Monday
  • Zagame’s House in Carlton refused to comment  

MasterChef star Jock Zonfrillo spent his final hours at a swish $650 a night hotel atop a wine bar on a famous Melbourne dining strip. 

Daily Mail Australia can confirm the 46-year old had been staying at Zagame’s House on Lygon Street – the heart of Melbourne’s Italian community – where he was found dead at 2am on Monday.

The circumstances surrounding the beloved chef’s death remain a mystery, with police only confirming the cause was not suspicious. 

Zagame’s House management has refused to address the tragedy, denying the MasterChef judge even died there. 

But Zonfrillo’s death within its walls was the talk of Lygon Street on Tuesday.

MasterChef star Jock Zonfrillo was found dead inside Zagame’s House on Lygon Street (above, one of its plush rooms) 

MasterChef star Jock Zonfrillo (centre) was found dead inside Zagame’s House on Lygon Street about 2am on Monday

 The boutique hotel, which sits atop a wine bar, is seen from the outside

Positioned at 66 Lygon Street, on the intersection of Queensberry Street, the hotel had been a stone’s throw from where Zonfrillo had once lived with his family on Drummond Street. 

Business owners told Daily Mail Australia they had seen police cars converge on the hotel in the early hours of Monday morning. 

‘Everyone is talking about it. It’s very sad,’ one business owner said on Tuesday. 

Zonfrillo had uploaded an Instagram post on Sunday night promoting the new season of MasterChef. 

‘The time has come for @masterchefau to kick off a new season filled with Secrets & Surprises! And @jamieoliver of course!’ he wrote in the caption.

Sometime later, he responded to a fan in the comments section in what is believed to be his last-ever public interaction on social media.

One of his followers commented how much their son enjoyed watching Zonfrillo on MasterChef and would often do impressions of his accent.

‘Very exciting… (my son shouts out “Joooooock” every time you appear on the advert!!!! He is even practicing his Scottish accent!!!)’ they wrote.

Zonfrillo replied to this comment with a crying-with-laughter emoji.

The hotel he spent his last moments in is described as a labour of love from hotelier brothers Victor and Robert Zagame. 

Zonfrillo hit Instagram in his last hours alive 

 The hotel is regarded one of the best along Lygon Street 

The 97-room ‘pet friendly’ hotel prides itself on featuring the best of modern interior design, luxurious amenities, and sustainable architecture

Patrons have access to a wine bar just downstairs from their rooms


Running from Queensberry Street in the south to Elgin Street in the north, this part of Lygon Street is crammed with Italian restaurants, ice-cream shops, boutiques and bars.

While known for its abundance of restaurants, it became notorious in the 1990s for its seedy underbelly. 

The Carlton Crew – a criminal organisation based in Melbourne then – was run out of Lygon street for decades.

The Carlton Crew included convicted criminals, Mick Gatto, Alphonse Gangitano, Mario Condello, Ron Bongetti, and Graham Kinniburgh.

Gangitano built a reputation as ‘The Black Prince of Lygon Street’ in the late 1970s and early 1980s. 

He recruited mainly Italian thugs who installed jukeboxes and vending machines in local bars and nightclubs under the threat of violence, and then reinvested their profits in drug trafficking. 

The 97-room ‘pet friendly’ hotel prides itself on featuring the best of modern interior design, luxurious amenities, and sustainable architecture. 

‘From the art to the menu, every inch of Zagame’s House is designed to inspire you,’ its website reads.

The hotel’s most luxurious suite, The Neon, is described as balancing between work, play and relaxation. 

‘Aside from whatever goes on in your bedroom, you can also indulge in the spacious bathroom with double sinks and a shower big enough to hula hoop in, plus a separate lounge room complete with a fully stocked cocktail and wine bar,’ the hotel states.

‘Whether you’re looking to have an intimate rendezvous, a cozy social gathering, or small business meeting… the spaces are yours to use whichever way you want. ‘

The hotel even includes a fancy wine bar, which would have been available to Zonfrillo before his tragic death. 

Named after the legendary bon vivant, the Lord Lygon Wine Bar is the brain child of award-winning executive chef Chris Bonello, who ‘went to town with the menu’.

‘The toughest thing you will have to endure is where to start on the 300+ wine selection,’ the hotel boasts. 

Zonfrillo had reportedly cut short a family holiday in Italy to return for the launch of the new series of MasterChef. 

The British-born chef reportedly flew home early to Melbourne from Rome, leaving his wife Lauren Fried, and their two young children, Alfie, five, and Isla, two, in the Eternal City.

His family are expected to arrive back in Melbourne on Wednesday.  

Zagame’s House hosts events for some of Australia’s biggest businesses 

Zonfrillo would have access to a gym in his final hours 

The highly-anticipated new series of MasterChef was due to air on Australian television tonight with Jamie Oliver among its celebrity guests. 

The judge himself had posted a teaser on Instagram on Sunday.

The immediate future of MasterChef Australia will ultimately be decided by Jock  wife, Channel 10 sources say.

The series is now in limbo as network bosses and sponsors – including major stakeholder Coles – consider if and how to proceed in light of Zonfrillo’s death just hours before the show’s first episode. 

Zonfrillo had secretly battled bowel cancer for years, Daily Mail Australia revealed on Tuesday. 

He had kept his health problems quiet and usually received treatment when the cooking program was not filming. 

It is not suggested he died of cancer, only that he had told close friends he was suffering from the disease.

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