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David Chang Chokes Up Talking About the Death of Jonathan Gold

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The chef, restaurateur, and podcast host was deeply moved

City of Gold Documentary
Jonathan Gold
City of Gold Documentary

Like many other food and media luminaries over the past week, chef David Chang took time to address the death of food writing legend Jonathan Gold. Though the two had been sparring somewhat as of late, the opening of the most recent episode of The Dave Chang Show finds the self-titled host in tears as he talks about his relationship with Gold, and the feeling that there’s always time to mend fences.

First and foremost, Chang says he feels terrible for Gold’s family and the heartbreak they must be enduring: “As great as Jonathan was as a food critic, he won a Pulitzer, I think he was probably as good a father.” A GoFundMe page has been set up to help support the family.

Chang goes on to wax poetic about what Gold meant to the restaurant industry at large, and to everyone scrambling to open their own project here in Los Angeles — Majordomo included.

I don’t think I would be in Los Angeles, quite frankly, if it weren’t for Jonathan Gold... Everyone owes a great debt to him for being here, myself included. He was just the best writer. No one tapped into empathy, tapped into the human condition, better than Jonathan Gold. No one came close, and no one tried to attempt the things that he could do with words and food. He really uplifted so many goddamn restaurants and chefs. I don’t know of a food critic that could be a better representation of a city than Jonathan Gold.

Majordomo, Chinatown
Wonho Frank Lee

As for their recent spats, Chang says the fights with Gold feel “really trivial these days.” The pair has most notably tangled over the troubled closure of seminal food media publication Lucky Peach, which Gold largely blamed Chang for. Some of that animus even spilled into Gold’s severe review of far Chinatown restaurant Majordomo. Chang is more than conciliatory about the whole thing now, saying through tears:

Jonathan Gold was this titan, and all I ever wanted was his approval. I remember every meal we ever had, almost every conversation we’ve ever had... Without going into all the details about how mad he was at me [for the closing of Lucky Peach] I thought that I would have time to repair that relationship, and I never got the chance. And it’s really f*cking hard. You think you’re going to have more time to make things right, but you don’t.

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