chef Matt Wilkinson

Matt Wilkinson hails from the rolling pastures and industrial jungle of Barnsley, South Yorkshire in the North of England – a stealthily disguised ‘centre gastronomique.’

Charming and ever-so-modest, Matt’s foodie muscles were carved under Michelin-starred chef Martin Wishart before arriving in Australia where he worked at Vue de monde and Circa.

Pope-Joan External Illustration

In 2010, he and business soulmate Ben Foster opened Pope Joan in East Brunswick, Melbourne: a neighbourhood café by day and casually distinctive eatery by night, replete with wine bar and kitchen garden. Pope Joan now has a produce store and takeaway hub, Hams and Bacon, nestled alongside – offering every cut and cure of meaty goodness imaginable, fresh and dry goods, and Mr Wilkinson’s own range of comestibles to slather on top. In May 2015, Wilkinson and Foster welcomed a new addition to their growing family – canteen/grocery store Jack Horner – just around the corner on Weston Street, East Brunswick.




Cedar Bakery Thornbury

Late Night?

Gerald’s Bar on Rathdowne Street in Carlton

Gerald’s Bar on Rathdowne Street in Carlton


Heartbreaker on Russell Street in the CBD – I’ve been kicked out of it many times

Heartbreaker on Russell Street in the CBD

Cheap and cheerful?

Hutong Dumpling Bar @ The Crown Casin

High End?

Not my scene.


Worth travelling for?

Hot Chicken Project – Geelong

Hot Chicken Project – Geelong

International restaurant?

Blue Hill @ Stone Barns – NYC State

Blue Hill @ Stone Barns – NYC State

My neighbourhood?

Northcote – IT ROCKS

Guilty Pleasure? (venue rather than dish)

I Love Pho – Victoria Street Richmond

Staff are talking about?

How good looking I am.


Wish it was my idea?

That I invented the Smashed Avocado instead of Jason M. Jones

What’s your favourite dish on your current menu? 

My Milawa chicken kiev with slaw.

Why should Melbourne foodies search out Pope Joan?

I really think it’s because of the ethics behind our food and produce and where we source our incredibly beautiful and fresh produce from & because it’s delicious!

Contact: Pop Joan – 77-79 Nicholson St, Brunswick East VIC 3057, Australia. Ph. 9388 8858. Website.

Matt will be at The Peninsula Picnic on Sunday March 20, 2016. Tickets on sale now from

Pope Joan

* Peninsula Organics Corn on the Cob, Smoked Butter and Herb Salt $5

Montalto Pennon Hill Chardonnay, 2015

* Toasted Pastrami, Pickled Cucumber and Blue Bay Gruyere Sanga $8

Circe, Chardonnay 2015

* Jerk Chicken roll, Mr Wilkinson’s Pineapple Chutney, Slaw $8

Elgee Park Family Reserve Delice, late harvest Riesling 2010