Jay Rayner: The Ten Food Commandments, Town Hall, June 14

The room is darkened, the audience are seated, anticipation hangs heavily in the warm air. Suddenly with a messianic grin, the Prophet strides onto the stage. Jay Rayner, food critic, television personality and, it turns out, first class jazz pianist, has arrived.

Who would have guessed? The slightly scary Masterchef critic is an absolute hoot. With a very slickly put together slide show, brilliantly incorporating fellow foodies Michel Roux Junior and Heston Blumenthal (who are clearly fond of him) in comedy cameos, this was going to be a good evening.

Having appeared in the flowing robes of a biblical prophet it would seem that Rayner has actually found his natural path. A born showman, the audience was taken on a roller coaster of a talk through his revamped ten commandments that was engaging, amusing and entertaining with some laugh out loud moments. This was balanced with some well researched facts. It really felt as if Rayner genuinely knows his stuff and puts the hours in to get to the bottom of some of the spurious claims made by snake oil sellers and superfood experts. There were interesting facts within the commandments, the history of the fork anyone? The allure of stinky food? And who knew it’s actually ok to eat animal fat? If Rayner says it’s alright, then that’s good enough for this reviewer!

The second half of the evening came with some cooler air coming in from the opened windows which was a relief. Rayner showed us another facet of his personality. From educator to raconteur. We discovered who would be at his dream dinner party, what his favourite food is (spare ribs) and interestingly, why his real job is actually writing, not being an expert at eating. Including the odd rye political reference that left us in no doubt about which way he leans, Rayner nevertheless showed a gentle side and the evening finished with an unexpected performance of A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square. Played with a stylish jazz twist, he dedicated it to London and the recent horrors there. A lovely ending to an enlightening and absorbing night.

Claire Markwell