Multi-award-winning celebrity food writer and author of four novels and seven works of non-fiction about food came to Queen’s this week.
Jay Rayner, a judge on BBC MasterChef, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet, and feature food writer and restaurant critic for the Observer became our celebrity teacher at Queen’s for the day this week before performing his one-man national tour show and even treated us to a little jazz on the piano.
We were delighted to welcome Jay Rayner to Queen’s College where he treated our pupils to an exclusive afternoon writing masterclass. In the English masterclass, Jay taught the methods and structural tricks he employs in his food writing reviews, and how he keeps writing about the same topic over an extended period, by constantly changing the subject. As Jay explained to pupils, “what matters is identifying the story and then communicating it in as entertaining a way as possible, whatever the subject happens to be”.
What came next was a very exciting, engaging and extremely funny evening performance of his latest acclaimed touring. Following the success of his sell-out shows, My Dining Hell and The Ten Food Commandments, which took audiences by storm across the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the US, Jay bought his show, My Last Supper: One Meal a Lifetime in the Making to Queen’s for one exclusive night, The famous food and drink writer dived into our fascination with final meals telling many personal hilarious stories behind the ingredients that would make up his very own ultimate menu in this truly interactive show. Where heard stories about how he was introduced to oysters by his famous late mother Claire Rayner, how he almost burnt down a hotel because of his love for snails in bubbling garlic butter and of the many ways in which pig has fed him over the years, plus the audience even came up with their own last meal. The large audience then had an opportunity to quiz Jay about all things food and drink and have books signed before a musical surprise for all. From the corner of the stage came the Queen’s College Steinway grand piano and everyone was then treated to a stunning performance of Jay’s jazz. “It was a wonderful show for all those that love food or indeed love hearing stories about food. Jay inspired, excited and engaged pupils and parents alike at Queen’s with the entertaining way he showcased his life experiences around food”, said Mr Mann Head of Food and Nutrition. Jay said, “Thank you so much for having me. It was a lot of fun at Queen’s College. And oh, that piano”.