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Jonathan Gold Takes Fresh Swings at David Chang in New Interview

A just-released Daily Beast profile doesn’t pull any punches

J. Gold peekin’ in at the haters
City of Gold [official]
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold isn’t done talking about Majordomo, the impossible-to-get-into far Chinatown restaurant run by chef David Chang — at least not yet. If anything, Gold is doubling down on his wavering review of the place from just last month, and adding in a few tough words for Chang himself along the way.

In a new profile out today over at Daily Beast, Gold speaks at length about his role as a food critic, his recognition in the greater Los Angeles community, and his history as a music writer. But go beyond the opening paragraphs and things start to get juicy. First, there’s this:

When I suggest that Gold doesn’t really like to write about meals he didn’t enjoy, he jokes, “You can ask Dave Chang about that one.”

Yikes. Gold is of course referring to his review on April 13 of Majordomo, which had been anticipated for weeks. In the article, Gold needles Chang both professionally (“you may be confused,” he tells expectant diners at one point) and personally, saying he is “furious” at Chang for the closure of seminal food publication Lucky Peach. Gold is close with the quarterly’s co-founder Peter Meehan, and the two-man rift that caused the demise of the publication was apparently as deep as it gets.

A few sentences down, Gold goes on to give one heck of a pullquote to Daily Beast about what his reviews can sometimes mean for his social life, saying:

“I’ve burned good friendships over bad reviews. You just have to be willing to do it.”

Gold doesn’t elaborate, but it is worth noting — as he does in his review of Majordomo — that he and Chang have dined together many times, and appeared in television shows and documentaries for one another over the years, including Netflix’s new Ugly Delicious. Friendly? Who knows. Frenemies now? Seems likely.

This is far from the first time the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gold has leaned into not liking a chef’s cooking, or a chef themselves. Gold somewhat famously snubbed Felix, Evan Funke’s Venice pasta restaurant, from his 101 list last year. Funke has since moved on from the discussion overall, especially considering his restaurant is shortlisted for a possible Best New Restaurant win at Monday’s James Beard Foundation Awards in Chicago.

As for whether or not Chang will discuss this all on his new podcast The Dave Chang Show, that remains to be seen. In the meantime, go give the Daily Beast article a read.