Wednesday, October 01, 2008

VIDEO: How Jonathan Gold Got His Start

Over the weekend, our very own Rameniac shared a table with food critic Jonathan Gold at the West Hollywood Book Fair; not for dinner but for a lively panel discussion on what keeps them writing. They were joined by Marilyn Friedman of Writing Pad, SNL's Laraine Newman and "Good Food" host Evan Kleiman, a woman I've come to think of as the James Lipton of gastronomy.

Little did I know, Jonathan Gold started out years ago as LA Weekly's resident music critic. One day his editor threw him a restaurant assignment and, well, the rest is history:

Listening to JG that day made me realize he was probably raised by people who convinced him food writing wasn't a "real job." And so despite a Pulitzer, he seems to marvel at how he can spend a career writing about Chinese beef rolls and oysters -- and still be taken seriously.

Print and online media made amends when Mr. Gold paid the Rameniac a compliment during the discussion, saying that the noodle king was in his thoughts during a ramen write-up for the upcoming "Best of" issue. Aww~ there wasn't a dry eye in the audience.

JG also gave his two-cents on the food-blogging world, rolling out my favorite quote of the day:

“The problem with a lot of online writing is that you’re getting the shitty first draft.”

For sure, the furst draft tends to be the most pasionate, but b/c it goes unedited it might not make cents to others the way it makes cents to you. But then again, that's what I love about online writing. It's a free-flow of brain farts.

Though, so as long as I do have at least one person in the audience (still trying for two), I'll do my best to turn out some decent writing. A notch above mediocre, at least.

“The discipline of being a writer doesn’t go away just because you call what you’re writing on a ‘blog’,” so says Mr. Gold.


In case you missed it, here's some of his other quotes:

"When you can write about food you can write about anything in the world, and you can bring anything into it.”

After he started writing Counter Intelligence in the LA Weekly:

“It was sorta my ticket to a lot of things. One, I thought it was a complete scam rather than a career. The idea of not only being able to go to restaurants but to take all your friends out to really cool meals and have somebody else pay for it, that was the greatest thing in the world.”

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r a m e n i a c said...


Chubbypanda said...

This is great! Thanks for posting it.

Diana H. said...

So interesting... kind of cool to get inside the head of LA's premiere food critic. I love what he says about being able to write about anything in the world when writing about food.

PulledPorker said...

Indeed. My favorite food writing always starts not in the restaurant or kitchen but someplace farther away in both time and distance. Mr. Gold has such a great ability to insert something into a food column that seems disparate but still makes perfect sense.