When it comes to food writing, Jay Rayner is king. The award-winning restaurant critic for The Observer and regular judge on MasterChef is both feared and respected amongst chefs.
His well-crafted and brutally honest reviews can make or break a restaurant, but does he display the same prowess in his own kitchen?
“I’m good enough for what I do,” he confesses. “Fortunately I’m employed because of the way I write to sell newspapers, not because of how I cook!
“I find it a really calming thing to do. I’m all about alpha male show cookery. I don’t do pastry or desserts. I’m at my most happy when something is braising long and slow on the weekend. If everything is basically right and you leave it long enough, you can’t make a mistake.”
His go-to recipe is braised shoulder of lamb (“If you have to use a knife to carve it, you’ve done it wrong”), served with his “legendary” roast potatoes and salad. “It’s not rocket science,” he says. “It’s all about the ‘boshing’.”
In addition to his regular food column, Jay has also published four non-fiction books including My Dining Hell: Twenty Ways To Have a Lousy Night Out, and A Greedy Man in a Hungry World, as well as four novels, and his latest book Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights: A journey deeper in dining hell, an account of “20 miserable meals”, is published this month.