Have You Heard? is a series in which the team from Pod Bible meet the people behind the podcasts you may not have heard of yet. While the Oh. My. Pod. section in the magazine gives a quick shout out to shows of that ilk, Have You Heard aims to go deeper in an effort to spread awareness for shows that deserve more exposure! In this week’s edition we sat down with Jay Rayner to discuss his podcast, Out to Lunch.
POD BIBLE: Who are you and what’s your podcast about?
JAY RAYNER: My name is Jay Rayner, I am a journalist, writer and broadcaster, possibly best known as the restaurant critic for The Observer and for my judging on MasterChef. In Out To Lunch, I take big names – the likes of Mel C of the Spice Girls, actor Richard E. Grant and comedian Romesh Ranganathan – out to a great restaurant, where terrific food lubricates the chat. In the current lockdown, we’re now staying In For Lunch, talking over video link with cracking take-aways. The series includes the likes of singer George Ezra, film director Edgar Wright, former Labour minister and Strictly star Ed Balls, and actress and writer Sharon Horgan.
PB: What’s the first podcast you ever listened to?
JR: It was the Butterfly Effect, the podcast series about the American porn industry by my old friend Jon Ronson, who was very early into podcasting.
PB: Why did you decide to start podcasting in the first place?
JR: I love long form interviewing. Before I wrote about food and restaurants, I wrote a lot of magazine profiles of big names, and enjoyed the opportunity to get to grips with a subject. Clearly a major broadcaster wasn’t going to let me do that, but I realised I no longer needed to wait for the call. We could do it ourselves.
PB: Which podcasts do you take inspiration from?
JR: The James Acaster and Ed Balls double act that is Off Menu is a lot of fun. (I was once a guest.) I like the detail and emotional intensity of James O’Brien’s Full Disclosure and Liz Day’s How To Fail.
PB: Who’s your dream guest for the podcast?
JR: I have been trying to get Jeff Goldblum. I’ve interviewed him once before, for The Observer, about our shared interest in jazz piano, and now I’d like to go a little deeper. I’ve found that some of the very best interactions have been with people I know a little before the podcast, like artist Grayson Perry and the actor Jamie Dornan (who had previously bought my companion slot on a review for charity.)
PB: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?
JR: That however relatively new the format or medium might be, all the skills and technique of traditional media apply. You still need to do your research into the person you’re interviewing and then you need to edit. No one wants to listen to people bang on for over an hour just because there’s no old media gate keeper telling them they should cut it. Everything benefits from editing.
PB: Which episode would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast?
JR: As grand as it sounds there are none which make me cringe, or which I wish weren’t out there. So start with whichever is the most recent, then go right back to the beginning with Richard E. Grant and work forward.
PB: Where can the Pod Bible readers find out more about you?
JR: My website, jayrayner.co.uk, has a lot of glorious stuff about me which I know is accurate because I wrote it. Also, my latest book My Last Supper, about my search for my last meal on earth, has lots of memoir in it.
Subscribe to Out To Lunch with Jay Rayner here.