Former Student, Matt Wilkinson, Cooks Up A Stir Down Under

Former Barnsley College catering student Matt Wilkinson has carved out a culinary name for himself by bringing a Yorkshire flavour to Australian diners.

Matt, who studied at the College between 1996 and 1997, is the joint owner of Pope Joan, a café, restaurant and bar in the lively East Brunswick area of Melbourne.


The 34-year-old was brought up in Silkstone and worked in London and Edinburgh after completing his studies before moving Down Under where his career gathered pace. He launched Pope Joan in 2010 and the venue has established an excellent reputation, along with its adjoining produce and takeaway shop Hams and Bacon.

Matt is currently working on his second cookery book ‘Simply Dressed by Mr Wilkinson’ after the success of his first publication ‘Mr Wilkinson’s Favourite Vegetables’, which sold over 100,000 copies worldwide, has been transcribed into nine languages and was a runner up in the Julia Child Cookbook Awards in the USA.

Matt said: “Studying at Barnsley College was a brilliant time of my life, so many good things have come from my time there and without my tutor John Stevenson, who sadly is no longer with us, I would not have had such amazing opportunities.

“I think my main success is drive, passion and self-belief. If you have a dream, give it a go and if it doesn’t work at least you have tried. Anything can be achieved with this attitude and surrounding yourself with great staff whom you can train and believe in.”

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