This Sunday, July 21 marks the one-year anniversary of Jonathan Gold's passing. Amy Scattergood was one of the late restaurant critic's collaborators at the LA Times. She joins us to assess his legacy and impact, one year later. We also hear from Gold's admirers at the Grand Central Market.
Jonathan’s daily routine
“I would be in my office, and if I wanted to talk to him, I would text, ‘Hey you want a cortado?’ and we would wander down to Grand Central Market. It would basically be lots of caffeine and me listening. The most beautiful thing about Jonathan is that I didn’t have to say a word. I’d just sit there and drink very good coffee and listen,” says Scattergood.
How cooking informed his writing
“I miss his cooking. He was a phenomenal cook. It was just so lovely to go to his house in Pasadena and just wander into the kitchen and there he’d be, barefoot, cooking fried chicken,” says Scattergood.
Going against the grain
“Jonathan didn’t chase trends . . . . He always felt like he had a bigger mandate that was about people,” says Scattergood. “You could always tell if there was a restaurant that was too trendy or if he really wasn’t interested. He’d just go, ‘Yeah, maybe, but instead I’m gonna do this. And you’re gonna like it.’ And we did because it had a way to get us all to the table. And not because some PR agency told us to go some place, or because some chef was on television, but because the food was good. He just wouldn’t do it unless he felt it was right."
How his words endure
“If I can’t hear him talk now, then I want to read him. We’re doing a whole issue with just his words on the page. Sometimes I just want to read what he had to say about the most ridiculous things,.” Scattergood says. “I got into food because I wanted to read him. I loved reading what he wrote. That’s what I miss. What we can do now is we can reread him. The beautiful thing about being a writer is that it’s there. We can go pull it up.”
A golden future
“Carrying the torch means ignoring the PR stuff and going back to the tables that are interesting and worthwhile and say something about the people who are cooking the food, or the people who are eating the food, or about our city or someone else’s city and just providing a voice for those people—people who often don’t have voices. He did that."
This week, Good Food managing producer Nick Liao stopped by Grand Central Market in downtown LA to hear from Jonathan Gold's admirers.
“One year later, what I miss most is just Jonathan’s voice. There’s no one else who knew LA food the way he did, or make us rethink our own relationship to LA food. He helped reposition our whole understanding of what LA is and what the unique food coming out of LA is.”
-Kevin West, Grand Central Market advisor and co-author of The Grand Central Market Cookbook
“He made it okay to enjoy your culture’s food. Growing up eating Chinese food in elementary school and getting picked on….now all those people are eating my people’s food and enjoying it. I really embrace that.”
-Nicole Lu Kerzhner, a Grand Central Market visitor
“I just miss his nurturing approach to food, and what people should take away from food itself. It’s a lot more about what you’re eating. It’s about what you’re putting into your heart and soul, and he was able to capture that in how he wrote about food. It wasn’t just about food. It was about life.”
-Reed Herrick, Chef/Owner of DTLA Cheese