Jay Rayner

Jay Rayner:  The Ten (Food) Commandments: Lighthouse, Poole (1st November, 2016)

Self-confessed “greedy bastard”, award-winning restaurant critic Jay Rayner loves his bacon sarnies and spare ribs. In fact he reckons he’s eaten so many of them that he may now actually be 50 per cent bacon himself.

It’s an intriguing idea. He’s a hefty chap and as anyone who reads his regular column in the Observer will know, he has hefty opinions too.

So when he arrives on stage, dressed as Moses and toting his very own Ten Commandments, it’s worth taking notice.

His ideas are refreshingly robust, show scant regard for faddism and blow a few foodie myths out off the proverbial water. Superfoods? They simply don't exist, he says. As for foods that supposedly boost your immune system? Forget it. You don’t want your immune system boosted. It would give you a permanently runny nose.

His commandments are simple - thou shalt always eat with thy hands, worship leftovers, celebrate the stinkiest foods and so on. Most important of all is honour thy pig. They are all in his recent Ten Food Commandments book, copies of which he signed at the end of the show.

This was an entertaining evening packed with fascinating facts but as Rayner himself repeatedly told us he’s fundamentally a writer, and it showed. The script was far better than the delivery.  Although an engaging and amusing speaker, Jay Rayner is not a natural stage performer.

Which is why I much preferred the second half of this show - a  Q&A with the audience, answering questions tweeted to him during the interval. A wide range of subjects were covered. Someone asked if he’d ever been chucked out of a restaurant. Not yet, came the reply. Though he added that he’s convinced that if he ever loses his job he’ll be thrown out of restaurants all over the place.

Jeremy Miles

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