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Ruth Reichl Reflects on Jonathan Gold’s Grand and “Impossible” Life

Plus the NY Times, Washington Post, and more weigh in

The Power Of Food - An Evening With Jose Andres And Friends
Jose Andres and Jonathan Gold
Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

Tribute time

The world is pouring its heart out for Jonathan Gold and his family this week, following the legendary food writer’s sudden death from pancreatic cancer at age 57. One of the loudest voices in the room is Ruth Reichl, herself a longtime prominent food luminary. She pens an op-ed of sorts in the LA Times, calling Gold one of the most brilliant, difficult, intelligent, and compassionate people she has ever had the pleasure of working (and dining with). Here’s one particular bit regarding Gold’s opinionated stances and penchant for delivering late copy:

“I know it drives you crazy,” he said during one memorable argument, “but I’m worth it.” And of course, he was.

The close connection

Like many Los Angeles writers, LA Magazine’s Garrett Snyder tells the tale of his early obsessions with Gold, the writer who brought everyday food to life. Snyder and Gold overlapped for a time at LA Weekly years ago, and the former reflects on just how much one writer can take away from time spent talking to (and reading from) one of the world’s best pens.

Deli heart

Langer’s Deli offers condolences to Gold and his family following the writer’s untimely passing. It’s worth noting, of course, that when asked years ago about the food that would be served at his own funeral, Gold responded: “When I have to go, I will die as I lived: seen off with Langer’s pastrami.”

Rock and listen

Over at podcast Food Is the New Rock, one can listen to Jonathan Gold talk about the city he loves from way back in 2012. It’s a time machine into the psyche of the man, but from six years ago.

Ringer reactions

Danny Chau at The Ringer offers a local’s perspective on Jonathan Gold, having been raised in the San Gabriel Valley. The stirring piece discusses the landscape of Los Angeles and Gold’s place in it, pointing out in great detail the culinary ebbs and flows of the city as it passes by out a car window.

A defining man

Washington Post writer Tim Carman spreads the East Coast Gold love as well, arguing that the Los Angeles native not only critiqued the food of the city he called home, in many ways he helped to shape and define it along the way.

The New Yorker discussion

Pete Wells, food critic for the New York Times, offers his own assessment of the man that was. To him, Jonathan Gold’s ability to parse out delicate culinary nuances within both six-dollar meals and $1,000 ones (and his preference for the former) made him a true legend, as did his breadth of knowledge. “He may not have eaten everything in Los Angeles, but nobody came closer.”

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