Jonathan Gold, Pulitzer-Prize Winning Food Critic, Bolts L.A. Weekly for L.A. Times

Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:54pm EST

Pulitzer-Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold will leave L.A. Weekly and head back to the Los Angeles Times, L.A. Weekly editor Sarah Fenske said in a blog post.

Rumors of Gold’s imminent departure began after a post Friday on Los Angeles-centric blog LA Observed, which suggested he was considering the move. TheWrap then confirmed that Gold, whose wife is former L.A. Weekly editor Laurie Ochoa, was leaning toward taking a job with the Times.

Village Voice Media, which owns L.A. Weekly, made a last ditch effort to keep Gold upon hearing of his possible departure, but it appears his mind was set.

“We wish we could have kept him. Hell, we tried to keep him. But time marches on,” Fenske wrote. “He's been here since 1982, for God's sake. We wish him the best of luck in his new adventures.”

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What this means for the Times’ current restaurant critic, S. Irene Virbila (also known as Sherry), remains to be seen. One person close to the situation said that Virbila, who has been the paper's critic since 1994, would continue to write restaurant reviews.

However, that was before the news of Gold’s arrival was official.

Los Angeles Times spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan declined to comment on Gold despite Fenske's post.

As Fenske mentioned, Gold started at the Weekly in 1982, starting his now iconic “Counter Intelligence” column in 1986. He moved to the Times in 1990, later worked as Gourmet magazine’s New York restaurant critic and came back to the Weekly in 2001.

Gold, who has proven particularly adept at identifying previously anonymous ethnic restaurants, remains the only food critic to have won a Pulitzer Prize.

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