Jon Wilkin may be a passionate rugby league man, a hugely successful player and now a brilliant pundit, but he now has another passion in the shape of food and drink.
Wilkin owns a bakery and his business has excelled since his retirement whilst he frequently appears on Sky Sports and BBC as a pundit even being nominated for an award.
However, nowadays, the food industry is as important to him as rugby league which led to him calling out one star footballer Ilkay Gundogan’s wife Sara Arfaoui when she said there was no good food places in Manchester.
Wilkin’s two coffee shops are located in Manchester so when she said that, Wilkin was understandably not happy about it and he hit back at her comments.
Speaking on Talksport recently, Wilkin spoke about calling out the Premier League winning midfielder’s wife: “Look if you’re going to have an opinion on something then you’ve got to at least have done your research. It’s quite clear that she hadn’t done any research whatsoever. Manchester, outside of London, is probably the most vibrant food and drink scene in the country.
“I own a bakery and we wholesale deliver to some of these amazing restaurants with young chefs who have taken their life savings and gone, ‘I’m going to open a restaurant’, and then an ignorant comment like that – which is what it was, there was no malice but it was just ignorant in terms of the information she had at hand. So yeah I did get passionate about it.”
This came as Wilkin explained that rugby league was no more than a “hobby” that paid him and that he had to take on other interests:
“Food and drink is my passion and I’m blessed that I can do that as a job. I always pursued interests outside of rugby league, I’m not stupid. This was a hobby that ended up paying me, I’m very thankful for it but I always knew this wasn’t the be-all and end-all.
“I ended at 35, you’ve got the best part of 60 odd years maybe to fill your life. It’s sad if I’m sat here with you two in 55 years or whatever still talking about my rugby career.”