The Life and Legacy of Jonathan Gold

Jonathan Gold was born in Los Angeles, California on Jul 28, 1960. He was a Pulitzer-prize winner and the LA Times food critic. Gold died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 57, exactly one week before his 58th birthday, at the St. Vincent Medical Center on July 21, 2018. Many have since mourned the loss of the food critic. 

The Beginning of Gold’s Career

Jonathan Gold began his professional career for The Los Angeles Times in the 1990’s, where he went on to review underrated restaurants in the ethnic neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Gold would go on to further his career when he became restaurant critic for Gourmet magazine, which was the first U.S. magazine devoted to food and wine. His works through this magazine were picked twice as a finalists for the National Magazine Award. During this time, Gold would be back and forth with writing content for Counter Intelligence for the LA Weekly, where he would publish a popular annual “best restaurants” list. This list was called “Jonathan Gold’s 99 Essential LA Restaurants”. This title would eventually expand to “Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants” when he moved his work over to the LA Times. He was the equivalent to restaurant marketing, where Los Angeles food business owners would crave for a chance to be visited by Jonathan Gold, knowing this could potentially expand their business. Jonathan Gold broke records when became the first food critic to win the Pulitzer Prize in 2007.

How Jonathan Gold Won The Hearts of Thousands

In an overwhelming and busy city such as Los Angeles, it is easy to get lost. It is difficult finding out where to go, where to live, where to socialize, and where to eat. Jonathan Gold made it easier for residents of LA and newcomers alike to find the best places to eat. Los Angeles is like a melting pot of different cultures. Gold made it his mission to expand people’s taste buds and knowledge of others cultures through food. From authentic Thai food to LA taco trucks, Jonathan Gold made sure to try it all. There was no bias or negativity behind his reviews, where he would merely state his experience dining in a restaurant and anything outstanding or unique in the dishes. Anywhere Gold went and reviewed positively, hundreds would eventually flock to that location. It was his immense knowledge of food, culture, and open-mindedness that made Angelenos look up to him.

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Jonathan Gold’s Death

Jonathan Gold was diagnosed with cancer early in July 2018. He had not been public about his battle with pancreatic cancer or made an appearance since his diagnosis. The cancer spread quickly, as does most pancreatic cancer, and it was mid-July when the world became shocked by the sudden death of Jonathan Gold on July 21, 2018. Gold is survived by his wife Laurie Ochoa and children, Isabel and Leon. Not long after his death a GoFundMe campaign was started on July 24th, in hopes of easing the family’s financial burdens for his funeral and raising money for his children’s education fund. As of this day the GoFundMe campaign has raised over $185,000.

Jonathan Gold’s Legacy

Jonathan Gold was a vanguard among food critics, so much so that in 2015 a documentary called “City of Gold” was released. This documentary followed John Gold as he explored the wonders of food that Los Angeles had to offer. Gold’s impact will stay among restaurant owners and consumers alike, who trusted in the food critic to guide them around LA.

John Gold died a week before his 58th birthday. To honor his memory, on his birthday several buildings and landmarks in Los Angeles were lit in gold, some displaying his silhouette.

On August 26, 2018, Los Angeles unveiled Jonathan Gold’s new plaque and memorial site which was commemorated at Grand Central Market. Los Angeles Times arts and culture columnist, Carolina Miranda, hosted Sunday’s event. Gold’s friends, family, city officials, and hundreds of Angeleno’s gathered in Grand Park to honor Gold’s legacy. 

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