On Friday the 7 June the Whittaker Hall was treated to some culinary expertise when food critic Jay Rayner came to talk about his ‘Ten (Food) Commandments’.
His dry sense of humour and sharp tongue combined with a very well put together powerpoint made for an entertaining and informative evening.
The talk started with a short video and introduction to the concept of having ‘food commandments’ as rules to live by although throughout his talk he reiterated the idea that food is something that people should enjoy and therefore can do however they like.
Rayner’s 10 commandments included ideas such as Thou shalt covert your neighbour’s Pig and Thou shall cook (sometimes) but one of the most memorable commandments was Thou shall eat with your hands. This was enforced by him showing the audience foods that could easily be eaten with hands (spare ribs) and some not so easily (lasagne).
Despite reaching a good balance between humorous and informative Rayner seemed to rush the first half of his talk making it sound overly scripted at times. This meant that sometimes it was difficult to keep up with the rate of information and advice.
The second half was set at a much better pace when he was set free from the script and started interacting with the audience. This was clearly what he prefered doing as he instantly seemed more relaxed and happier on stage when answering questions and talking to the crowd.
Earlier in the show, Rayner had asked the audience to tweet him their own food commandments. Directly after the interval, he read some of these out and started discussions within the audience. This meant that a relationship was built between the audience and Jay Rayner when it came to taking questions so people found it easier to ask some in-depth questions about his work and talk.
The evening ended with a recital of a jazz piece called ‘Autumn Leaves’ this was a nod to his career as a jazz musician and ended the evening on a high. This show was definitely worth the money and I’d suggest it to anyone who has the chance and is prepared to be very attentive to catch everything he says.