Renowned restaurant critic, MasterChef judge and sometime jazz pianist Jay Rayner is embarking on
two UK-wide tours in 2016. Taking place in various theatres across the country from February to May,
A Night OF Food and Agony and My Dining Hell entertainingly combine Jay Rayner’s flair for
storytelling and acerbic wit with a hitherto hidden talent as a musician.
My Dining Hell, opening in March in Liverpool and travelling around the country before closing in
Chatham in May, will see Jay examine our love affair with lousy reviews. As a restaurant critic for the
Observer for over 15 years, if there is one thing Jay has learnt it is that his readers delight in reviews
of bad restaurants.
In this accompaniment to his book of the same name, Rayner rants about his most hated restaurants
fads, describes some of his most excruciating nights out and – just to balance things – reads from the
worst reviews his own work has ever received. Having already had a successful run in 2015, this is a
hugely entertaining show in the company of the man recently voted the best food and drink journalist
Kicking off in Kingston in February and finishing in Swansea in April A Night Of Food And Agony,
featuring Jay’s quartet, will essentially offer two shows for the price of one. The first half of this
evening is an hour-long version of My Dining Hell, where Jay talks about his time as a restaurant critic
and one of Britain’s most well-known food experts, delighting the audience with anecdotes about the
best and worst restaurants he’s ever eaten in.
Fresh from his knock-out show at legendary jazz venue Ronnie Scott’s, the second half of the evening
brings Jay together with his ensemble of top flight musicians to perform. Accompanied by the singer
Pat Gordon Smith, bassist Robert Rickenberg and saxophonist Dave Lewis, Jay will play tunes from the
Great American food and drink songbook. There’ll be standards from the likes of Johnny Mercer,
Harold Arlen, Blossom Dearie and Dave Frishberg, alongside anecdotes from his life being paid to eat
out on somebody else’s dime, and stories about growing up with a mother, Claire Rayner, who was a
sex advice columnist.
An award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster with a fine collection of floral shirts, Jay Rayner
has written on everything from crime and politics, through cinema and theatre to the visual arts. But
despite his stint as sex columnist for Cosmopolitan, he is best known as restaurant critic for the
Jay Rayner is a former Young Journalist of the Year, Critic of the Year and Restaurant Critic of the Year,
though not all in the same year. In the 2014 British Press Awards he was shortlisted for both Critic of
the Year and Specialist Journalist of the Year. Somehow he has also found time to write four novels
and three works of non-fiction. His latest book is A Greedy Man In A Hungry World: How (almost)
everything you thought you knew about food is wrong. He chairs BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet,
and is a regular on British television, where he is familiar as a judge on Masterchef and, since 2009, as
the resident food expert on The One Show.
His last Midlands date is:
May 13th Royal Leamington Spa – www.warwickdc.gov.uk/royalspacentre