Journalist, writer, broadcaster, jazz musician and self-confessed “greedy bastard” Jay Rayner brings his new show, based on his latest book The Ten (Food) Commandments, to Scotland.
Appearing in the rather apt converted church setting at Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh, Rayner appears on stage, dressed in a long tabard and carrying two “tablets” (or rather revamped pizza boxes), dispensing at least one of his ten commandments, “Do As I Say”. As Britain’s culinary Moses, he’s searching for the culinary land.
The Moses garb doesn’t last long as he asks the audience the question “On or Off?”, before quickly dispensing with the cloak and revealing himself to be dressed in a sophisticated midnight blue velvet jacket, pink open-necked shirt and jeans.
Rayner runs through his Ten (Food) Commandments with his natural acerbic wit and clever use of language that anyone familiar with his regular Observer column will lap up. Assisted ably by the use of slides, the show is fast-paced and deliciously fun. He deals once and for all with questions like whether it is ever okay to covet thy neighbour’s oxen (it is), eating with your hands (very important indeed) and if you should cut off the fat (no).
His Commandments are more than just quips, being as they are well-researched arguments for why we should all be following “this culinary God” – even if for himself, Nigella will always carry that mantle. Fellow food bloggers will completely buy into his Commandment “Thou shalt choose thy dining companions carefully” and any foodie, “Thou shall worship leftovers”.
The show is a great recipe for entertainment, with the first half showcasing his knowledge and wisdom, full of rhetorical questions to the audience. He closes Act I with a challenge to the audience to Tweet him in the interval with their own #foodcommandments, which he will address in the second period.
Act II finishes with Rayner interacting with the audience and responding to their own #foodcommandments with some more interesting foodie insights: “Thou Shalt heed @One_Angry_Chef in matters of all dietary nutribollocks” and “thine restaurant shallt (sic) not assume the female is indulging in free meals by removing said prices from her menu”, resulting in a rant as to why Parisian restaurants have the gall to do this.
There’s also the opportunity for questions to the Culinary God, resulting in the revelation that he enjoys the zen ritual of washing up and has until now, dispensed with a dishwasher but is looking forward to the installation of a new two-drawer appliance. Who would have thought? And as for his best restaurant, it depends on his mood and the occasion – but the Oban Seafood Hut (The Green Shack) gets a worthy mention.
If you want to catch this show, you’ve sadly missed the one Edinburgh date but if you’re quick and can avoid Storm Brian, get yourself to Inverness this weekend, where Jay Rayner will be delivering his Ten Commandments once again at Eden Court. In this food-obsessed world, the show will enrapture all foodies (of which there were many in the audience), but also anyone delighting in Rayner’s quick-witted and eloquent delivery.