Jonathan Gold, the Pulitzer Prize-winning restaurant critic who championed the breadth and depth of the Los Angeles dining scene, has died of pancreatic cancer at age 57.
"I can't imagine the city without him".
Gold was also the subject of a 2015 documentary in which filmmaker Laura Gabbert followed the critic on a journey through the city's lesser-known restaurants. The announcement, first reported by the L.A. Times, has stunned fans, friends and food lovers alike.
He was "drawn more to hole-in-the-wall joints, street food, mom-and-pop shops and ethnic restaurants than he was to haute cuisine", and his reviews were predominantly positive, the Times wrote in its obituary. Praised for his "zestful, wide-ranging restaurant reviews, expressing the delight of an erudite eater", he is still the only food critic to have won the award, and was again a finalist for the Pulitzer in 2011. "In the early '80s, no one else was there".
His reviews were compiled into a book, 'Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles, ' in 2000.
He was beloved in the food world for his vivid writing and relentless pursuit of the best tastes, and he saw Los Angeles as a giant, endlessly exciting multicultural smorgasbord. He moved from the Weekly to the Times in 1990, and later became Gourmet magazine's NY restaurant critic; Ochoa also worked there. "He really got that food was a gateway into the people, and that food could really define a community".
One of the most widely admired voices of Los Angeles, Gold wrote about restaurants for four decades and became indelibly linked with the city in which he was born and raised. He played the cello from childhood, and pursued a degree in music history at UCLA. His wife, Laurie Ochoa, arts & entertainment editor there, told the paper he died at an L.A. hospital surrounded by family.