Journalist, writer, broadcaster, jazz musician and a self confessed ‘greedy bastard’ brought his new show, based on his latest Penguin book,’ The Ten (Food) Commandments’, to Scotland. I went along to his Edinburgh show, which took place in October, to find out more.
Appearing in the rather apt, converted church setting at Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh, Rayner appeared on stage, dressed in a long tabard, carrying two ‘tablets’ or rather revamped pizza boxes, dispensing at least one of his 10 commandments ‘Do As, I Say’. As Britain’s culinary Moses, he’s searching for the culinary land.
The Moses ‘garb’ didn’t last long, as he asked the audience a satirical question, ‘On and Off’, before he quickly dispensed with the cloak, revealing him dressed in a sophisticated midnight blue velvet jacket, pink open-necked shirt and jeans.
Rayner ran 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 with the use of slides, the show was fast paced and deliciously fun.
He deals once and for all with questions like whether it is ever ok to covet thy neighbour’s oxen (it is), eating with your hands (very important indeed) and if you should cut off the fat from your meat (no).
His Commandments are more than just quips but well researched arguments for why we should all be following ‘this culinary God’, even if for him and me, Nigella will always carry this mantle. Fellow food bloggers will completely buy his Commandment ‘Thou shalt choose thy dining companions carefully‘ and any foodie, ‘Thou shall worship leftovers.’
The show was a great recipe for entertainment with the first half dispensing his knowledge and wisdom, where he posed rhetorical questions to the audience, finishing Act I, with a challenge to the audience to ‘Tweet’ him in the interval with their own #foodcommandments, which he addressed after the interval.
Act II finished 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 was also the opportunity for questions to the Culinary God, with the most revealing fact, was that he enjoys the zen ritual of washing up and has until now, dispensed of a dishwasher but was looking forward to the installation of a new two drawer appliance. Who would have thought? And his best restaurant? It depends on his mood and the occasion but the Oban Seafood Hut (The Green Shack) got a worthy mention.
If you want to catch this show, unfortunately you’ve missed Rayner’s two Scottish dates, which took place in Edinburgh and Inverness but you can still get the gist by buying his new book, The Ten (Food) Commandments, published by Penguin, and available on Kindle, paperback and as an audio version. In this food-obsessed world, it’s sure to delight all foodies, and anyone who delights in Rayner’s quick-witted and eloquent delivery and would make the perfect Christmas present.