Masterchef judge and restaurant critic Jay Rayner to hand down his Ten (Food) Commandments at Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch

PUBLISHED: 17:04 08 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:04 08 September 2017

Jay Rayner is bringing his Ten (Food) Commandments to Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch. Picture: Picasa

Jay Rayner is bringing his Ten (Food) Commandments to Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch. Picture: Picasa


Before his new show comes to Queen’s Theatre, outspoken restaurant critic Jay Rayner spoke to 
Ralph Blackburn about the point of eating with your hands and the beauty of stinky cheeses.

Jay Rayner is bringing his Ten (Food) Commandments to Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch. Picture: Levon Bliss Jay Rayner is bringing his Ten (Food) Commandments to Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch. Picture: Levon Bliss

Do you believe in the sacrilege of not eating with your hands – avoiding getting your fingers covered in grease while gorging on juicy spare ribs?

Are you a blasphemer who runs away from the stinkiest of cheeses, even if they smell of death?

Well Observer restaurant critic and Masterchef judge Jay Rayner has Ten (Food) Commandments to stop your culinary sins and show you the light.

Rayner, an acerbic and outspoken writer, brings his hilarious new show to Queen’s Theatre, in Billet Lane, Hornchurch, on September 24.

Jay Rayner is bringing his Ten (Food) Commandments to Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch. Picture: Levon Bliss Jay Rayner is bringing his Ten (Food) Commandments to Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch. Picture: Levon Bliss

“The first part is 50 minutes of well foodie stand up comedy with some recipes to take away,” he tells me.

The show is based on his previous book of the same name, where the self-proclaimed new culinary Moses sets out rules for today’s food obsessed age.

Eat with your hands, worship leftovers and honour thy pig are just three important tenets for mordern day eating.

“Each is the starting point for an essay, which I investigated for the book,” he says.

Jay Rayner and his first food commandment. Picture: Levon Bliss Jay Rayner and his first food commandment. Picture: Levon Bliss

Rayner starts by telling me the gospel of eating with hands, something I am partial to with a particularly calorific pile of nachos.

“When I started looking at why we eat with our hands, I found there are very important reasons for it,” he says.

“When people eat with cutlery they are using three senses – sight, taste and smell.

“But when we eat with our hands we add a fourth, touch, so when I am eating a spare rib I know I want to touch and feel the meat,” Rayner says.

I silently congratulate myself for always covering my hands with grease while munching on ribs.

Next on Rayner’s hit list is stinky food, specifically smelly cheese, which I’m less au fait with.

“The smell of cheese comes the unpasterised milk which is left to set.

“The bacteria gives the cheese the smell and flavour, and is actually good for you.”

With my stomach for stinky cheese limited, we move on to Rayner’s career in journalism.

He first worked as a 
reporter and news feature writer for 15 years, before a space opened up reviewing restaurants.

“I always say this job is about writing and not eating, it’s the words that I get paid for,” he explains.

Rayner’s reviews are certainly eye catching.

He recently described eating crab as “like building kitchen extensions and sex”, said Chigwell’s Sheesh restaurant was like “being trapped inside Lord Sugar’s wallet” and called one West End pop up’s £130 meal as “about as entertaining as a colonoscopy”.

He’s also penned several books, reporting on the sustainability of our eating habits.

“Writing about food is a great subject as it enters every aspect of our lives, politics, education,” he says.

“It’s great to have starting point that gives off all of these directions.”

Rayner is not a fan of farmers markets or “clean eating”, and believes focusing on local food is missing the point.

“I particularly hate the virtue signalling, and there’s a lot going on,” he says.

We discuss Havering and east London’s restaurant scene, and why he rarely ends up reviewing in the boroughs on the outside of the donut.

“The problem for the outer suburbs is that the residents are drawn to central London, and so London tends to damage the restaurant scene for places 
like Havering and Essex and Surrey.”

After chatting for around half an hour, I start to wrap up 
the interview and Rayner reminds me we haven’t yet spoken about the second half of the show.

“It’s a Q&A with the audience,” he explains.

“So people can tweet me questions in the interval and I will answer them.”

The Ten (Food) Commandments by Jay Rayner is at Queen’s Theatre, Billet Lane, Hornchurch, on Sunday, September 24, at 2.30pm.

Tickets are £14 and can be bought at Queen’s Theatre, by calling 01708 443333 or at

Related articles


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford Entertainment Stories

Wed, 12:30

A musical show that blends story telling, traditional and contemporary Irish music is coming to Hornchurch.

Tue, 15:02

Fans can relive the unique musical talents of George Michael in a special tribute performance.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A young solo artist from Romford has skyrocketed into the finals of a national singing competition.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

An exclusive screening of a new action packed film which marks the directorial debut of singer-turned-actor, Luke Goss, is coming to Romford.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

When renowned musician, David Bowie died on January 10, 2016, the world lost a great musical and cultural icon, but now fans can relive some of Bowie’s greatest hits with Pop-Up Bowie’s special tribute performance.

Monday, January 1, 2018

If 2018 is going to be anything like 2017, it’s going to be unpredictable.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

How much do you remember about the weird and wacky world of Twitter this year?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

OK, you’ve probably eaten and drunk too much and you may be suffering for it today.


Window and conservatory specialist Ken Rhodes talks about the possibilities for brightening up your home for the new year, and with their home improvement finance deals it’s possible for everyone to make some changes

Lisa and Jennie are cousins who grew up in the borough. Their grandmother, ‘Nanny Fish’ was a huge part of their lives, and while she had dementia and increasing needs, she really benefited from having care in her nephew’s loving home. This experience was the inspiration for Lisa and Jennie to set-up their own home care service.

Breaking News

Yesterday, 10:04

A man’s body has been found outside a block of flats this morning.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists

News from your area


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now