Jonathan Gold, Pulitzer Winner Who Told L.A.’s Stories Through Its Food, Dies at 57

“I am trying to democratize food and trying to get people to live in the entire city of Los Angeles,” he told Vice in 2015

Last Updated: July 21, 2018 @ 7:09 PM

Jonathan Gold, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times food writer who helped reinvent food writing by training his eye on Los Angeles’ street food and little-known treasures, has died at 57.

His wife, Times arts and entertainment editor Laurie Ochoa, confirmed his death Saturday evening. He died of pancreatic cancer at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The Times noted that while Gold “wrote beautifully about fine dining, he revered the taco truck more than the tasting menu.” His sense of humor was clear from his simple Twitter bio: “The belly of Los Angeles.”

“I am trying to democratize food and trying to get people to live in the entire city of Los Angeles,” he told Vice in 2015. “I’m trying to get people to be less afraid of their neighbors.”

In 2000, he wrote “Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles,” in which he shared discoveries from places ranging “from inexpensive lunch counters you won’t find on your own to the perfect undiscovered dish at a beaten-path establishment.”

It celebrated foods from immigrants from as far as Burma, India, Pakistan, Peru and many other countries, as well as the joys of an L.A. hamburger stand or simple hot dog.

Gold left the LA Weekly for the Los Angeles Times in 2012.

“I can’t imagine the city without him. It just feels wrong. I feel like we won’t have our guide, we won’t have the soul,” said Laura Gabbert, who directed the 2015 documentary “City of Gold,” in an interview with the Times.

His death follows the loss of another great food critic, Anthony Bourdain, who similarly elevated street food and hard-to-find culinary gems to a place alongside fine dining.