While I still haven't finished a piece that I have been slowly working on about the passing of Anthony Bourdain, don't worry, that long winded sappy post is coming soon, but another food legend has left us. Jonathan Gold -The Los Angeles Times Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer and essentially the man who changed the way the world saw Los Angeles eating and the more important aspect - how Los Angeles saw eating out.
Today would have been his birthday and well, it's a bit of a triggering effect for me personally, as Jonathan passed away after only discovering that he had Pancreatic cancer a few weeks prior to succumbing to the illness. Triggering because my own father passed away of the same cancer right before his birthday. Much like J. Gold, the man loved to eat and discover those secret places all over town.
What made Jonathan Gold special was that he was less of a face and more of a voice guiding you to the hidden treasures the city had to offer. I related to him and felt simpatico with him because he spoke about all the spots I grew up finding on my own in terms of authentic Asian cuisine in the San Gaberial Valley. While he also wrote about the standard white cloth fine dining, the man had a huge knack for speaking about the hole in wall spots that were attached to strip malls, carts along the side of the road and, well, the food scene that I knew about for the longest time.
He was a voice for the minority and often overlooked and put the spotlight on their food offerings. A legend when it came to street food. He promoted the hell out of places like Kogi tacos and Guerrilla Tacos. Two spots that he talked about and can very well easily say that changed the food scene in L.A. completely.
Little Asian hole in the walls that were often scoffed at because of their location were given a second chance because they let the food do the talking and not just the presentation of the location. Embracing different cultures and what they provided in their culinary offerings was his number one goal. Writing passionately about the whole scene and putting it on a pedestal the likes of any high end restaurant.
Since today is his birthday, a lot of spots that he pushed and we are thankful for it, are honoring the man. The L.A. Times building in El Segundo will light its building, as well as other spots like City Hall, The Broad, and the natural history museum will pay the man tribute. Chinatown will project City of Gold, his documentary which is amazing in itself as it is a love letter to the L.A. food scene, during it's Chinatown Nights event.
Honestly, this man was the representation of what we love in the city. A mixing of cultures and embracing of it to see what we can come up with together and how we can learn from one another. Eating wasn't something to brag about. It was something to enjoy and learn from. To see as a gift and a representation of one's self to the world. This is what I love about Gold. This is what I will miss the most. I've crossed paths with him at several food events and always was the kindest of souls.
If you want to donate to the family he was suddenly taken away from, there is a Go Fund Me page for him. Honestly, I don't usually post those since I feel like instead of Universal healthcare, our country has Go Fund Me post instead and that's sad, but to help cover the cost of funeral and the expenses ahead in such an unplanned death, It'll help the family. So give if you can. Or don't. No worries. Just throwing it out there. His wife has tossed out some other charities as well. Those wishing to honor Gold’s life consider supporting any of these nonprofit organizations: L.A. Regional Food Bank, Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, Heal the Bay or Al Otro Lado.