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Jonathan Gold July 24, 2018

Posted by voolavex in loss, Social Issues.
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Jonathan Gold, my friend and the voice of food in Los Angeles died on July 21, 2018.  He was 57 years old.  His more famous associates have been heard from in glowing tributes from all over, but without Jonathan, my partner and I would not have been foodies and writers and publishers in the 80’s, when food was first reimagined in Los Angeles.   Rita Garlington and I were  (and are) best friends who decided to brave the waters of Los Angeles public relations and by accident, we found ourselves with food clients. What started as a boutique PR firm in West Hollywood became LA ala Carte and The Food Source Hotline.  The PR business was already staked out by more established publicists (and better-heeled) and it was a very hard world to crack.   In retrospect, I am not sure if we ever did crack it, because we are never mentioned in the many memoirs of the first foodie wave – but in a short span of a few years in the 80’s – we too were voices of food. But this is not our story as much as it is a memory of Jonathan Gold, without whom  – we would never been – even for a few years, part of the original food fame of this city.

I thought this would be easier to write.  I imagined the words would flow because writers write.  I am a fine eulogist but there are some losses that take the words away.  What I do remember is the Hyperion offices of L.A. Weekly and Jonathan, my partner Rita and I writing The Best of L.A.  (the two of us who had no clue about computers).  I remember Jonathan in his British army trousers (wool) and his bare feet. We had a very good time.  I remember a pizza panel and tasting at his apartment near Vermont Avenue.  A distinguished panel we were – but the only person whose name I remember was Robin Green.  I remember both Rita and me speaking to Jonathan on the phone often and he always answered his end with a “yo”.  Long before “yo” was part of our vernacular. They had both been from the same neighborhood. I remember his wedding to Laurie at Campanile.    And my fondest memory of Counter Intelligence,  his column in the Weekly, was the one written entirely in the style of Gael Greene.  I suspect we had recently been discussing ostentation in food writing, but as I read it, I was laughing too hard to care its source. As he wrote at the end:  “I was truly transported”.   Rita and I have been trying to remember exactly how Jonathan came into our lives. Likely the Foodsource Hotline. But I suspect it doesn’t matter much. He was our friend, our inspiration and always our cheerleader.  He won the Pulitzer Prize – damn skippy he did.  And deserved it. He married his true love, Laurie Ochoa and had two lovely children.

And then he was gone.  Suddenly.  Leaving us bereft and hungry for much more.

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