Food Critic Jay Rayner Announced As NRB Headline Speaker

One of food journalism's holy quadrumvirate unlikely to pull punches at annual hospitality debate

Written by  David Blake | Follow @david8blake | Thursday, 21 January 2016 15:15

RESTAURANT critic, occasional TV face and jazzy shirt nut, Jay Rayner, has just been announced as headline speaker at this year’s Northern Restaurant Bar Show (15-16 March).

It's true that not everything I've said over the years has been received warmly

Considered one of food journalism’s holy quadrumvirate alongside fellow critics AA Gill, Marina O’Loughlin and Giles Coren, Rayner is the Observer’s leading restaurant critic and has written for the likes of GQ, Esquire and Cosmopolitan. He’s also appeared on the panel of Masterchef, presents The Kitchen Cabinet on Radio 4 and recently took to the road with his stage show, Jay Rayner – My Dining Hell.

He said: “I've spent years reviewing restaurants across the north of England, a part of the country that can feed you very well indeed, so it's terrific to be a part of the NRB Debate.

“It's true that not everything I've said over the years has been received warmly, but the arguments have always been invigorating and informing and I'm sure that will be the case at this event.”

NRB chief exec Thom Hetherington said: “Jay is perfect to lead the NRB Debate because he is more than just a food critic. Obviously the food and drink industry is fascinated by restaurant reviewing and insights into the critical process, but Jay has also written on virtually every major topic that should concern a contemporary hospitality operator.”

Perhaps less chuffed with the announcement will be former NRB Award winner Simon Rogan, whose Mr Cooper’s restaurant at The Midland was recently described by Rayner as ‘a grievous act of architectural vandalism’ with a menu which ‘reads like the culinary equivalent of a bunch of monks who have been thrown into a brothel and have decided to give voice to all their sublimated carnal urges.’


Taking place at midday on Wednesday 16 March, the NRB Debate will include discussion on food trends, sustainability and 'food entrepreneurism', plus a finger buffet which is usually well lubricated by free-flowing plonk. 

Tickets are £66 - book here