Photo: Bella West

at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, West Tower Suite

Lunch with Jay Rayner

He’s described a Gefilte fish dish as so leaden it could ‘pull planets out of alignment’ and wondered if a mussel shell contained ‘the retracted scrotum of a hairless cat’ – there is truly only one Jay Rayner.

The loved and feared London-based food critic has won a huge following in Britain thanks to his sometimes curmudgeonly, sometimes rapturous, usually hilarious and always entertaining restaurant reviews for the Observer. He’s been outspoken, too, on many food-related issues – from the suspicious elements of the organic movement to the scourge of ‘superfoods’.

In this intimate meal and conversation with Michael Williams, Jay will discuss his book, My Dining Hell: Twenty Ways to Have a Lousy Night Out, and share tales from his years eating out across the world.


Portrait of Jay Rayner

Jay Rayner

Jay Rayner is an award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster with a fine collection of floral shirts. He has written on everything from crime and politics, through cinema and theatre to the visual arts, but is best known as restaurant critic for the Observer.

Portrait of Michael Williams

Michael Williams

Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. He has worked at the Wheeler Centre since inception in 2009, when he was hired as the Head of Programming before being appointed as Director in September 2011.

He has hosted Blueprint for Living (2015–2016), then Talkfest (2017–2019), on ABC RN. He remains a regular guest on ABC Radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing and has written extensively for the Guardian, the AgeSydney Morning HeraldAustralian and elsewhere.


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