The special meaning behind MasterChef judge Jock Zonfrillo’s worry beads

Wondering what they are? Here’s the explanation!
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Trigger warning: this article deals with the topic of mental health issues.

MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo has responded to the thousands of curious fans who preivously took to social media to ask the Scottish chef about a very unusual accessory he’s been sporting on the show.

WATCH: MasterChef’s Jock Zonfrillo explains his worry beads

Jock, 44, who runs Orana restaurant in Adelaide, has been seen playing with a small beaded bracelet in several episodes, leading viewers to question the purpose of the jewellery item.

“Anyone know why Jock was clutching a set of rosary beads the whole episode?” one fan wrote on Twitter, while another asked, “Can someone confirm what kind of rosary/beads Jock is using?”

Jock even became a trending topic on Google during the first season he joined the show, with thousands of fans attempting to find out exactly why he was carrying the beads.

MasterChef jock beads
There’s a very special meaning behind MasterChef judge Zock’s worry beads. (Credit: Network Ten)

Later, Jock took to his own Instagram account to answer the “billion messages” he received from fans asking about his mysterious bracelet.

“These are worry beads,” Jock explained in the clip, which you can watch in the player above.

“I’ve got lots of different types of worry beads, and when I’m feeling anxious or a little bit stressed, basically, I flick through them like that and the more anxious and more worried you get, the the faster I do it.”

Jock revealed the bracelet was given to him by the former partner of the late food writer A.A Gill, an acclaimed Scottish food critic whose sharp, cutting reviews made him a famous name around the world.

“These are very special to me… I love them. They are always in my pocket,” Jock added.

MasterChef judges
MasterChef jduges Melissa Leong, Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen. (Credit: Network Ten)

Before the 2021 season of MasterChef aired, Jock revealed to Mamamia that he hopes he can normalise worry beads as a way for took for someone who suffers from anxiety.

“I hate to use the word normalise but I think it’s normal… it’s just a part of Jock,” he said.

“I think some way of normalising anxiety is a good thing. It’s embarrassing and I don’t want it to be embarrassing.

“It works for me. And if it works for me, hopefully, it can work for some other people as well.”

MasterChef Jock
Jock, pictured with guest judge Katy Perry last season, while wearing a different worry bead bracelet. (Credit: Network Ten)

Jock has always been very open about his mental health battles, previously revealing that by the age of 15, he was fighting an intense addiction to heroin. He was also broke and homeless.

When he was just a teenager, Jock made his way to London and found himself in front of MasterChef star Marco Pierre White looking for a job.

Jock doesn’t know what Marco saw in him, but he took a chance and gave him a job at his world-famous Hyde Park Hotel.

“I’ve always said, ‘If it wasn’t for food, I would’ve died.’ When you’re an addict, there’s very little that’s more compelling than doing that drug. Luckily for me, I somehow fluked upon cooking,” Jock revealed.

While he previously admitted he’s embarrassed about this time in his life, Jock is refreshingly open about his experiences.

“I’m not proud of it at all,” he told news.com.au recently of his drug use.

“It’s embarrassing and it’s embarrassing for my parents. But I’m thankful to have been able to come through the other side of that and I’m thankful for all the people who helped me at the right moments.”

He said if it weren’t for Marco, he would be “in a pine box or behind bars”.

MasterChef Jock wedding
(Credit: Instagram)

When Jock first moved to Sydney, he decided to turn over a new leaf and quit his drug habit. He shot up his last dose of heroin at Heathrow Airport in 1999 and never touched it again.

Jock is the first to admit that his previous drug use, combined with the antisocial hours and hospitality industry’s intense culture, had a significant impact on his personal relationships.

“Two divorces, a handful of friends because you don’t have the time to spend with them, so therefore you can count your close friends on one hand, and a deep mistrust of most people,” he told the Adelaide Advertiser in 2014, reflecting on his time in the industry.

“That’s what you’re left with at the end of the day. Is it really that glamorous after all? I don’t think so.”

But now Jock is married to his wife Lauren Fried – they tied the knot on New Year’s Day 2017. The couple have two children a son called Alfie and a daughter born in 2020 named Isla.

Jock also has two daughters from his first two marriages.

This story originally appeared on our sister site Now To Love.

If you or someone you know has been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, help is always available. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit their website.

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