MasterChef Judge Jock Zonfrillo’s ‘Worry Beads’ Have A Beautiful Story Behind Them

Jock Zonfrillo, chef, philanthropist and judge on MasterChef Australia, will today make his signature worry beads available to the public with the launch of the hand-crafted label, Caim.
Avid MasterChef fans were quick to notice Zonfrillo’s worry beads and instantly curious, with speculations running wild on social media. After receiving “billions of messages” about them, he took to Instagram with a video, that explains why he relies on worry beads. You can see the video here.

What are worry beads?

Worry beads, or as they’re known in Greece “komboloi”, date back thousands of years, according to Greek City TimesThey were originally used by monks for prayer, but in modern times are used for a plethora of things — including a relaxing pastime, to guard against bad luck, or even as a tourist trinket. Komboloi is also used as a self-soothing mechanism, and, as the name suggests, to manage stress or worry.

Why does Jock Zonfrillo have worry beads?

The celebrity chef said that “when I’m feeling anxious or a little bit stressed” he uses the beads. The ones he uses in the show are “very special” to him, as they were given to him by the wife of a friend who had passed, food writer A.A. Gill.


And now, he wants to share them with us.

With the launch of Caim comes a bespoke collection of beads, designed and handmade by Zonfrillo himself, which will be available in three styles. Each set of Limited Edition worry beads are made from gemstones and semi-precious stones and are used by Zonfrillo as a tool that helps fast track his mind to calmness.

“Caim is Scottish Gaelic, pronounced kyem. It’s not religious – it’s an invisible circle of protection that you draw around your body with your hand, to remind you of being safe and loved, even in the darkest times,” says Zonfrillo.

Available in Limited Edition Single-colour, Limited Edition Multi-colour and Signature Timber, the beads have been sourced from all over the world, encompassing a variety of all-natural materials that include; jade, sea sediment jasper, natural blue amazonite and Ŋaraka (fish vertebrae) from the Northern Territory.

Zonfrillo, who was first introduced to worry beads after being given a set by late journalist A.A Gills’ wife Nicola following his passing, says:

“They became an Achilles heel for me. The more I flicked the beads, the more I found myself comforted by the memory of Adrian, and the less focused I became on whatever was worrying me. Flicking and counting my beads just calms that voice in the back of my head that tries to throw me off course.”

In line with Jock’s transparency of his own mental health struggles, Caim is a proud supporter of Beyond Blue and will be donating $5 from every set of worry beads to the 24/7 online support service.

“I questioned why it took me so long to use my worry beads openly on MasterChef, and I think it’s because I didn’t really want to announce that my anxiety was constantly bubbling away in the background.

One day though, I thought screw it, and I’m glad I took them out of my pocket. It was such a relief. The flood of messages and support I got was actually quite overwhelming. Each day people share their experience with anxiety, and the techniques they use as coping mechanisms. This is mine!”

Whilst no two sets of beads will be the same, each style is finished with the final bead of a skull.

Caim worry beads are available to purchase online via the Caim Worry Beads website. Prices range from $295 – $495 and are available until sold out. The range will continue to expand in the coming months, with all announcements to be made via social media.

You can follow along on Instagram here.

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