VIDEO: Jay Rayner Dishes on New Book, 'My Dining Hell'
The famed critic discusses some of the worst meals in his career
The Daily Meal's video producer, Ali Rosen, caught up with Jay Rayner, restaurant critic of The London Observer and judge on Top Chef Masters to discuss his recently published e-book, My Dining Hell.
Rayner opens the book by claiming that anyone who reads it is a "horrible person." In defense of that statement, he explains, "There is an appetite among readers for negative restaurant reviews; I've been reviewing restaurants for The Observer for over a dozen years, and in that time the ones they really love are when I cut up rough. There are 20 reviews in this book, and they span the 12 years, but boy that's what people love, and the only conclusion I can reach is because people aren't very nice."
With regards to how he chose the reviews that appear in the book, Rayner explains, "It's about the writing, I mean this is not an anti-restaurant guide telling you where not to go, because most of the restaurants are now closed (the restaurant critic is merely the pallbearer carrying out the coffin, we're not the assassin), it was about the writing and about what happened at that event.
Addressing the notion that a scathing review from a critic can cause a restaurant to close, Rayner notes, "In the age of social media and crowd-sourced restaurant guides, I don't actually think the restaurant critic plays the role they once did — I think we're about an ongoing discussion about food and eating out. I'm paid for the way I write, not the way I eat."
To check out more from Jay Rayner, watch the video above