LOS ANGELES — Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, hailed as one of the greatest food writers of his generation, died Saturday, July 22 of pancreatic cancer at age 57.
Gold’s wife, Los Angeles Times arts and entertainment editor Laurie Ochoa, told the paper Gold died at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early July.
The son of a probation officer and a high school librarian, Gold studied art and music at UCLA and held a number of jobs before landing a writing gig with the L.A. Weekly, while also freelancing for publications including Spin, Rolling Stone and The Times, the paper reported.
At L.A. Weekly, he wrote about music, art, theater, movies and food, and in his free time he played in punk rock bands. That hobby fed his talent for music writing, and he wrote about the rise of gangsta rap, hip-hop and grunge in the 1980s, according to The Times.
“I’d show up to the studio and everybody’s nervous about being interviewed, so I’d just kind of hang out all day. Then you just come back the next day and you’re in the studio like it’s no big deal. And eventually, they’re talking to you,” Gold said in a 2012 interview.
He was remembered by fans on Twitter.
“I am trying to democratize food and trying to get people to live in the entire city of Los Angeles,” he said in a 2015 interview with Vice. “I’m trying to get people to be less afraid of their neighbors.”
America needs fewer guns and more people like Jonathan Gold. RIP. https://t.co/Sj8cKzfrwN
— Jen Statsky (@jenstatsky) July 22, 2018
This is Jonathan Gold’s legacy to me. He was the critic for Los Angeles as the city was his to taste, critique, highlight and share. He treated our food with admiration, love and respect. An Angeleno, through and through https://t.co/OYN69D4f0g via @byandreachang pic.twitter.com/HhXcZNgm2y
— Brian Park (@TheBrianPark) July 22, 2018
jonathan gold loved los angeles so much he taught everyone else to love their city a little more too. to go to that place in the strip mall. to try the food cart. to talk to strangers. to embrace difference and surprise. RIP.
— rachel syme (@rachsyme) July 22, 2018
Gold and Ochoa met in 1984 while both were working at L.A. Weekly. They have two children, 23-year-old Isabel and 15-year-old Leon, according to The Times.
He left the Weekly in 1999, taking a job as a restaurant critic in New York, where Ochoa had gotten an executive editor job at Gourmet, The Times reported. But the pair returned to Los Angeles when Ochoa became editor in chief of L.A. Weekly, and he returned as its restaurant critic.
Gold won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2007 while working with the Weekly. He was the first restaurant critic ever to be so honored and remains the only one to win the Pulitzer. According to The Times, the judges praised his “zestful, wide-ranging restaurant reviews, expressing the delight of an erudite eater.”
Gold left the Weekly six years ago to work at The Times.
“Jonathan’s humanity came through in his writing and in his many public appearances,” The Times’ owner, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, told the paper. “His death is heartbreaking – an incalculable loss to all who knew him and loved his work.”
Jonathan Gold was such a beautiful human being with such a dry wit. His love of food and “trying to get people less afraid of their neighbors” speaks everything about him. In the too short time we got to know him we fell in love with his humanity. Loss to LA is immeasurable.
— Dr. Pat Soon-Shiong (@DrPatSoonShiong) July 22, 2018
Food writer Ruth Reichl tweeted that she has never been sadder.
I have never been sadder. Jonathan Gold is gone.
— ruthreichl (@ruthreichl) July 22, 2018
Goodbye Gangster Squad: Lindo Giacopuzzi, last of LAPD legends, dies at 102
Fans, writers remember science-fiction author Harlan Ellison, who died at 84
Obituary: Skip Conover, voice of the Pageant of the Masters for 17 years, dies at 80
Vinnie Paul, co-founder, drummer of Pantera, dies at 54
Sign up for our breaking news email newsletter: When major local news happens, you will be the first to know. Subscribe here.
Source: OC Register