Jonathan Gold, the renowned L.A. restaurant reviewer who was the first dining critic ever to win the Pulitzer Prize, will be the subject of an untitled documentary directed by Laura Gabbert (No Impact Man). Producers are Holly Becker (Me and You and Everyone We Know), formerly of IFC Entertainment, and Braxton Pope, who recently completed the buzzed-about, Bret Easton Ellis-scripted feature The Canyons, which stars Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen.
Announcement of the Gold project arrives as interest in the documentary food genre grows, with Jiro Dreams of Sushi, about the top sushi chef in Tokyo, and El Bulli: Cooking in Progress, which focused on the since-shuttered restaurant in Spain frequently ranked No. 1 in the world, both well-received last year.
Aside from the Pulitzer, Gold, whose criticism has appeared everywhere from Gourmet and the LA Weekly to his current perch at the Los Angeles Times, has won seven James Beard Awards for his restaurant criticism – the Oscars of the food world. His exhaustive, pioneering explorations of the sprawling city’s ethnic dining enclaves, beginning in the early 1990s, constituted a then-novel approach for a mainstream critic, at a time when colleagues of a similar stature across the country focused much more exclusively on temples of haute cuisine. Gold’s M.O. anticipated today’s far more egalitarian foodie culture, in which the culinary cognoscenti holds up food trucks and strip mall finds in high regard.
“I loved Laura’s film Sunset Story,” about a retirement home for political progressives, Gold says in a statement. “So when she approached me about making a film using me as a prism through which to look at food as a prism looking at Los Angeles, it sounded like a good idea. And you wouldn’t believe how fetching I look in a burqa.”
Adds investor Jamie Wolf, who provided the seed funding for the film: “I’ve known Jonathan for many years, since we were both much younger, and the paradox of his becoming so well-known and revered in the pursuit of such an idiosyncratic, personal, and obscure interest has fascinated me as it’s evolved. He seems like the ideal guide to the extraordinary multi-facetedness of this indefinable city.”