Reality TV

Eliminated MasterChef contestant Robbie shares heartwarming words about Jock Zonfrillo

"He will be sorely missed."
Loading the player...

From the very first moment, 65-year-old Youth Support worker Robbie Cooper walked into the MasterChef kitchen, he was a fan favourite.

A proud Iwaidja man from the Northern Territory, Robbie warmed the hearts (and stomachs) of judges, fellow contestants, and viewers watching from home alike with his humble ‘Aboriginal Asian fusion’ cooking style. 

But alas, much to the heartbreak of fans tuning in across the world, Robbie was the sixth contestant to be eliminated from MasterChef: Secrets and Surprises.

WATCH NOW: Declan farewells Robbie on MasterChef. Article continues after video. 

Speaking with Robbie the morning after his on-screen elimination, he said that it had been “overwhelming” to experience the outpouring of love and support viewers had sent his way. 

“It’s really blown me away. It’s been amazing. People from all around the world have been sending me messages saying they love me. It’s a beautiful thing.” 

But the love doesn’t end there, Robbie confirming that the MasterChef cast had formed a close bond following their time together on the reality cooking show. 

RELATED || Here is who has been eliminated from MasterChef 2023 

Fans were devastated to see Robbie eliminated. (Credit: Channel 10)

“We have a special bond,” Robbie tells New Idea. 

“Every day, sometimes more than once a day,” he adds when asked if the cast members still call and text each other.”

As he was eliminated, contestant and friend Declan made the eyes of everyone in the kitchen water up when he farewelled his competitor and now a lifelong friend. 

“You’re an incredible man and you’ve taught me a lot,” Declan spoke from the heart. 

“And you’re a mentor for everyone here and a mentor for everyone watching at home. It’s going to be very tough not having you here.” 

Robbie thanked his fans and new friends in a heartfelt Instagram post. (Credit: Instagram/Channel 10)

Speaking of his ill-fated eliminated challenge, we had to ask Robbie if he had any regrets. 

“I should have stuck to my guns, especially with the curry.” 

“My biggest takeaway was that I wanted to show our mob and all the people my age that you can actually get out there and reach your goals, and do things and catch your dreams. It doesn’t matter what age you are, you can go out there and make your dreams come true.”

But whilst he was sad to be leaving the MasterChef kitchen, there was an upside for Robbie. 

“I was newly married for about a week before I hit the road so I missed the wife, and I have 17 grandkids and 10 kids so it was very hard to leave them all behind. The last few weeks were getting hard for me.” 

We miss you already Robbie! (Credit: Channel 10)

So what’s next for Robbie? 

“Now that it’s the dry season in Darwin at the moment, we’re going to do the C’s out there [in Arnhem land] which is culture, camping, cooking, and connecting to country so I’ll take people out there.”

“I’m also being asked by a lot of people out there at the moment to do a cookbook and also bottling my sauce.”

Robbie formed a close bond with fellow contestant Declan during his time on the show. (Credit: Channel 10)

Robbie also had some heartfelt words for late judge and mentor Jock Zonfrillo.

“I would like to send my regards to Jock’s wife and the family. It must be a very hard time for them, he will be sorely missed.”

RELATED || Heartfelt tributes come pouring in for Jock Zonfrillo

“Especially with the culture side of things, Jock really pushed for our people [Indigenous Australians] to be recognised which is a great thing.”

“He was a great guy, very loving, and very respectful.”

Related stories