Jonathan Gold, the first restaurant critic to win a Pulitzer Prize, has died at age 57 of pancreatic cancer. The Los Angeles Times said he died Saturday at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was diagnosed with the disease in early July.
Gold was the subject of Laura Gabbert’s 2015 documentary “City of Gold,” that showed the Los Angeles food scene through the eyes of the L.A. native. He also appeared in the Tacos and Home Cooking episodes of Dave Chang’s show “Ugly Delicious.”
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. His restaurant finds were heard on KCRW’s “Good Food,” hosted by Evan Kleiman.
Gold was raised in West Los Angeles and started out as a music writer and punk musician before turning to food writing. The erudite critic wrote for the L.A. Weekly, L.A. Times and Gourmet before returning to the L.A. Times six years ago. Though he was sometimes irascible and famously deadline-challenged, his exhaustively-researched reviews mostly focused on the positive and he had no interest in takedowns.
Phil Rosenthal, whose “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having” show takes a similarly enthusiastic approach to food as Gold, was among those in the food world paying tribute to the critic.
Our greatest food writer, and a personal hero, friend and inspiration, has passed way too soon. He always highlighted the good. He made Los Angeles and the world better. Rest In Peace Jonathan. ♥️ https://t.co/b2UTSOe82z
— Phil Rosenthal (@PhilRosenthal) July 22, 2018
Jimmy Kimmel, another enthusiastic eater, also paid tribute.
Reading the great writer @thejgold was one of the best things about living in Los Angeles. This is a serious loss
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) July 22, 2018
He is survived by his wife, Laurie Ochoa, L.A. Times arts and entertainment editor, and two children.