Jonathan Gold

For my money, the best writers today are all working in some form of criticism or another, and maybe the very best of them is Jonathan Gold. The first person to winner the Pulitzer for culinary criticism (in 2007, for his work at the L.A. Weekly), Gold is now the Restaurant Critic at the L.A. Times, as well as the subject of a new documentary, out March 11, called City of Gold. But that barely describes what it is that he does or the position he occupies in our culture. With lip-smacking novelistic elán, Gold not only writes about food and often the food of immigrants in Los Angeles, but also about how food tells the story of a place, of the people from that place, and about their experience in coming to America and making a home in his native L.A. If it weren’t for his pop-culture drenched and dazzlingly literary sentences, Gold would probably be considered among our greatest anthropologists or social historians. Instead, given his range and the sheer delectability of reading him, we have to just leave him where he belongs, among the world’s greatest critics alive today.