Jonathan Gold (July 28, 1960 – July 21, 2018) was an American food critic. He wrote for the Los Angeles Times and had previously written for LA Weekly and Gourmet, as well as being a regular on KCRW's Good Food radio program. Gold often chose small, ethnic restaurants for his reviews, although he covered all types of cuisine. In 2007, he became the first food critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.
Gold began his journalism career at the LA Weekly in 1982 as a proofreader while he was studying art and music at UCLA, and eventually became one of the paper’s most popular writers. He was a editor for the Weekly in the 1980s in their music section, and held a number of other positions with the paper. Encouraged by Weekly founder Jay Levin, he started his column Counter Intelligence in 1986, reviewing underreported restaurants in the ethnic neighborhoods of Los Angeles. The column eventually made it to the Los Angeles Times from 1990 to 1996, while also writing reviews of more upscale restaurants for California and Los Angeles magazines, as well as music stories for Blender, Spin, Rolling Stone, and Details. In 1999, he moved from Los Angeles to New York City to become a restaurant critic for Gourmet magazine, and was the first food writer to be honored as a National Magazine Award finalist in criticism by the American Society of Magazine Editors, eventually being nominated once more.
In 2001, he moved back to Los Angeles, where he revived Counter Intelligence for the Weekly while continuing to write for Gourmet. Gold became the first food critic to win the Pulitzer Prize in 2007; the citation referenced his "his zestful, wide ranging restaurant reviews, expressing the delight of an erudite eater."
Gold's work is profiled in the 2015 documentary film City of Gold, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
In 2012, Gold returned to the Los Angeles Times.
Gold was born in Los Angeles; his father was Jewish and worked as a probation officer, his mother was a teacher who converted to Judaism. While a freshman at UCLA, he worked briefly at a kosher restaurant owned by Steven Spielberg's mother, Leah Adler. He married Laurie Ochoa, former editor-in-chief of the LA Weekly; they had two children.
Jonathan Gold's younger brother Mark Gold was the long-time president of the Santa Monica-based non-profit organization Heal the Bay and is now the associate director of UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.
In July 2018, Gold was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died on July 21, 2018, at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles at the age of 57.
Gold, Jonathan (2000). Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles. LA Weekly Books. ISBN 978-0-312-26723-0.
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