LA Weekly’s Jonathan Gold Wins Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism

First Time Restaurant Critic Wins


LA Weekly critic, Jonathan Gold has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism, marking the first time the Pulitzer Board has recognized a restaurant critic in the category. Gold, who has written LA Weekly’s nationally recognized Counter Intelligence column since 1985, was singled out by the board for “his zestful, wide ranging restaurant reviews, expressing the delight of an erudite eater.”

The Criticism award, one of 21 awards given by the Pulitzer board for 2006, comes with a $10,000 prize paid from a trust established by journalism pioneer Joseph Pulitzer. Since its inception in 1917, the Pulitzer Prize has been considered the Nation’s top journalism award and receives more than 2,400 entries each year. Submissions are assessed by 102 distinguished judges who make up 20 separate juries and are asked to make three nominations in each of the 21 categories.

Jonathan Gold is a four-time James Beard Award winner, as well as the recipient of numerous awards from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, the Los Angeles Press Club and the Association of Food Journalists. Gold’s Pulitzer win marks the first time that an LA Weekly columnist has been awarded the coveted Prize.

Editor-in-chief Laurie Ochoa commented, “This is a sweet victory on so many levels — Jonathan started out here at the LA Weekly as a proofreader and fairly quickly became one of the paper’s most popular writers. He’s had several jobs at the Weekly over the years, from caption guru to editor of some of our finest Best of LA issues — he’s really part of the fabric of this place. As music editor, he wrote groundbreaking pieces about classical music, heavy metal and the LA rap scene just as it was going national in the late ’80s. But restaurant criticism is where he really captured people’s imagination in the city. It’s gratifying that even after he established a national reputation with his work at the L.A. Times and Gourmet magazine, he’s continued to call the Weekly home. We’ve always been acknowledged for the writing of our critics, so it makes sense that the paper’s first Pulitzer would come in this category. I’m thrilled that the Pulitzer judges recognized Jonathan’s humor and deep understanding of both Los Angeles and the way we all love to eat.”

Publisher Beth Sestanovich added, “We are very honored to win our first Pulitzer and very proud of Jonathan Gold who started his career at the LA Weekly. The LA Weekly has long been a part of the fiber of this city covering both deep issues that affect LA as well as the cultural backdrop that makes Los Angeles the unique place that it is. Our criticism of the arts, music scene, film and of course, food and drink, has been acknowledged by many other awards over the years and we are thrilled to add a Pulitzer to that list.”

LA Weekly, the nation’s largest alternative newsweekly, delivers comprehensive news, culture, entertainment, and calendar listings every Thursday to readers throughout Los Angeles and on In addition to the Pulitzer, the paper received more than 20 awards and honors in 2006 for journalistic excellence.