Published on October 16 2012.
Pope Joan and Bishop of Ostia, Melbourne, Australia
Though he nominates bacon as the one ingredient he can’t live without, Yorkshire-born, Melbourne-based Matt’s affinity with vegetables is renowned, not just because of his book Mr Wilkinson’s Favourite Vegetables, but because of the kitchen garden he maintains out the back of his urban eating house, Pope Joan that emphasises his commitment to all things local and seasonal.
Q. Who did you learn to cook from?
A. My first two head chefs, Michael Taylor (ex l’Ortolan) and Martin Wishart of Restaurant Martin Wishart, really took me under their wings and showed me techniques and how to be in a kitchen but Andrew McConnell helped me take off my blinkers to see all the things that are culinary and the many cultures that food does offer
Q. What grows in your backyard?
A. At the moment a lot of weeds but this year I’m really proud of my fennel, broad beans and 8 different types of lettuces I have growing.
Q. Name the one ingredient you can't live without and how you would cook it?
A. Simple – bacon, grilled.
Q. What's your favourite dish right now?
A. I have just come back from overseas and the one dish I had was so simple yet amazing, fresh made ricotta, a special wheat brioche, spinach, currant and ramp puree with black pepper at Blue hill Stone Barns.
Q. What do you do when you're not in the kitchen cooking?
A. Trying to navigate my two hooligans, spot of fishing and gardening.
Q. No 1 cooking tip for the amateur cook?
A. Read the recipe properly then write into your own words.