Jay Rayner

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Jay Rayner
Born (1966-09-14) 14 September 1966 (age 52)[1]
London, England
ResidenceLondon, England
EducationThe Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School
Alma materUniversity of Leeds
OccupationBroadcaster, writer, journalist, food critic
Years active1988–present
EmployerBBC, Channel 4 and The Observer
Spouse(s)Pat Gordon-Smith[2]
Parent(s)Desmond Rayner (deceased)
Claire Rayner (deceased)

Jay Rayner (born 14 September 1966) is a British journalist, writer, broadcaster, food critic and jazz musician.

Early life[edit]

Rayner is the younger son of Desmond Rayner and journalist Claire Rayner. His family is Jewish.[3] He was brought up in the Sudbury Hill area of Harrow and attended the independent The Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School.[4]


He joined The Observer newspaper after graduating from the University of Leeds in 1988, where he was editor of the student newspaper. As of 2018 he is restaurant critic of The Observer. He has written for a wide range of British newspapers and magazines, including GQ, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, the New Statesman and Granta. In 1992 he was named Young Journalist of the Year in the British Press Awards.

His first novel The Marble Kiss, published in 1994, was shortlisted for the Author's Club First Novel Award and his second, Day of Atonement (1998) was shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Prize for Fiction.[5] His first non-fiction book, Stardust Falling, was published in 2002; this was followed by his third novel The Apologist, published in the US as Eating Crow, in 2004.

In 1997 he won a Sony Radio Award for Papertalk, BBC Radio Five Live's magazine programme about the newspaper business, which he presented.

He was one of the panel of critics who made up the eponymous "enemy" on the daytime cookery show Eating with the Enemy, and performs a similar role on the UK version of MasterChef. His television appearances have earned him the nickname 'Acid Rayner' owing to his sour demeanour.[6] He is the food reporter on the BBC magazine programme The One Show, and was on the panel of judges on the American programme Top Chef Masters.

He chairs a BBC Radio 4 programme called The Kitchen Cabinet.[7]

He was awarded the title Beard of the Year for 2011 by the Beard Liberation Front.[8] He plays piano with his jazz ensemble The Jay Rayner Quartet.[9]



  • The Marble Kiss (1994), ISBN 0-333-62134-4
  • Day of Atonement (1998), ISBN 0-552-99783-8
  • The Apologist (2004), ISBN 1-55278-416-9
  • The Oyster House Siege (2007), ISBN 1-84354-566-7


  • Star Dust Falling (2002), ISBN 0-552-99908-3
  • The Man Who Ate the World (2008), ISBN 0-8050-8669-2[10]
  • A Greedy Man in a Hungry World (2014)
  • My Dining Hell: Twenty Ways to Have a Lousy Night Out (2015)
  • The Ten (Food) Commandments (2016)
  • Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights (2018), a collection of some of Rayner's negative reviews[11]



  1. ^ "Researcha". Web.researcha.com.[dead link]
  2. ^ Neustatter, Angela (3 November 1996). "Is it time confessional man shut up?". The Independent. London.
  3. ^ http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/lifestyle/the-arts/books/the-big-interview-jay-rayner-1-5716032[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Rayner, Jay (2003-03-02). "Tales my mother never told me". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  5. ^ "The Jewish Quarterly". The Jewish Quarterly). 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  6. ^ "Inside Pulse". 2009-06-28. Retrieved 2013-02-25.
  7. ^ The Kitchen Cabinet at BBC Archived 15 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 6 June 2015
  8. ^ "2011: a good year for facial hair". Open Road. 2011-12-29. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  9. ^ "VIDEO: Masterchef star Jay Rayner brings foodie fun to Northampton". 12 October 2018. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Interview with Jay Rayner". digyorkshire.com. 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
  11. ^ http://www.jayrayner.co.uk/news/announcing-a-new-collection-of-my-scorching-reviews-of-terrible-restaurants-publ-october-4-perfectly-timed-for-christmas-price-5/

External links[edit]