L.A.'s Tribute to Jonathan Gold Showed Just How Much He Meant to the City
Since the recent loss of Jonathan Gold, one of America’s most prolific and beloved restaurant critics, the food world and Los Angeles community has been left reeling. Gold, who died of pancreatic cancer, was remembered by friends and family at an intimate memorial service on Friday, which included songs picked by Gold, such as Dr. Dre’s Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang, and tacos from Kogi, Mariscos Jalisco, Guerrilla Tacos, and Burritos La Palma, some of the trucks Gold spent much of his career encouraging. On Saturday, the city at large remembered Gold’s contribution to the Los Angeles community with a citywide tribute organized by the Los Angeles Times on what would have been his 58th birthday.
“For decades, he has been our guide to understanding our city and articulating why we love it," said Kimi Yoshino, Los Angeles Times deputy managing editor.
Beginning at sunset on Saturday, Gold’s hours-long tribute began at the L.A. Times' new El Segundo building, where the critic’s famous silhouette was lit up in a bright, white light on the side of the building.
Michele and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, owners of the newspaper, were inspired by Gold’s mission to bring light to the untold stories of Los Angeles’ communities. “Jonathan described Los Angeles as a ‘glittering mosaic.’ He shined a light on the many cultures and people who make this city such a great place to be,” Soon-Shiong said. “As our tribute to him, we wanted to shine a bright light in honor of all that he did to celebrate others.”
The evening turned the city gold, spanning the countless neighborhoods he helped his fellow Angelenos appreciate. After sunset, L.A. landmarks such as L.A. City Hall Tower, the Wilshire Grand Center, The Broad, US Bank Tower, Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain in Grand Park, Natural History Museum, pylons at LAX, and Pacific Wheel on the Santa Monica Pier illuminated in gold.
Other venues, such as The Wiltern, the Ford Theatres, The Theatre at Ace Hotel, and the Fairplex in Pomona, chose to honor Gold with installations and projections. At Chinatown Summer Nights, throngs of Angelenos celebrated the critic's life with a screening of City of Gold, the 2015 documentary profiling Gold, in a way "The Belly of Los Angeles" would have approved of: alongside street food like dumplings and suckling pig.
Chefs and restaurateurs around the city came up with their own tributes for Gold, too, from a booth spray-painted with Gold’s silhouette at the new brick-and-mortar location of Guerrilla Tacos to a mural of the late critic by artist Jonah Never covering the facade of Santa Monica’s Margo’s and even a collection of shirts hand-dyed and printed by chef Josef Centeno available for sale, proceeds going to support the Gold-Ochoa family.
And there's more to come. According to a release in advance of the tribute, another public event celebrating his life is being planned for Sunday, August 26, though details have not yet been released.