A “self-regarding” national newspaper journalist with big hair and a killer collection of flowery shirts is to give followers of his restaurant column the opportunity to point and laugh when he puts a dish on the menu at French and Grace in Brixton Village on Saturday (April 7).
Brixton resident Jay Rayner has been given an Apprentice-style challenge by the editor of the Observer Magazine, where his reviews appear. Along with colleagues on the title he has been given £100 and ordered to try and make as big a profit as possible through a business venture. He has chosen to force his cooking on the public.
Rayner told the Blog he was under no illusions about his risky strategy. “I spend my time comparing other peoples’ cooking to various forms of mammalian excrement and making knob gags at the expense of big name chefs,” he said.
“And now, I’m putting everything on the line by standing naked before the public. Albeit only in the culinary sense, because if I really did stand naked before the public they would need post traumatic stress counselling. Still, if my venture convinces the editor of the Observer Magazine that I’m a good chap and, as a result, he lets me carry on reviewing restaurants then it will all have been worth it. I’m sure a grateful nation will agree.”
Rayner says he will announce the dish on tomorrow, “to a bunch of people on Twitter who are so desperate for a distraction from their jobs that they will read anything”. He’ll be cooking the dish at French and Grace in Granville Arcade, also known as “Brixton Village.” The small but perfectly-formed restaurant was opened last year by Ellie and Rosie, the duo behind the award-winning Salad Club.
In October last year, the Observer food writer received a mixed response from Brixton residents when he described the “Village” as “the most exciting, radical venture on the British restaurant scene right now”. He is clearly a fan.
He will start serving at 11.30am and hopes to shift 50 portions.
“I also hope people will order lots of other food at French and Grace, so Ellie and Rosie don’t start pouting and accusing me of just using them for a cheap publicity stunt. Obviously we all know it’s a cheap publicity stunt but we don’t actually have to talk about it like that do we,” said a frank Rayner.
The Brixton Blog will be there on Saturday to opine on whether or not the self-confessed “local man with big hair and flowery shirts” will radicalise Granville Arcade even further.