Food writer, early food blogger and Meatopia creator Josh Ozersky died today in Chicago. He was 47.
Ozersky wrote for the West Side Spirit, Newsday and other publications before founding New York Magazine’s Grub Street blog. He left to become restaurant editor of Citysearch and also started his own blog, The Feedbag. In the Times obituary, Wells writes, “Mr. Ozersky — he used pseudonyms like Casper Gutman and Mr. Cutlets early in his career — emerged about a decade ago, using his own name, as one of the most forceful food writers in New York.” He also wrote a number of books, Meat Me In Manhattan (as Mr. Cutlets), Colonel Sanders and the American Dream and The Hamburger: A History.
Ozersky, who was in the city for the James Beard Foundation Awards, was found dead in his room at the Conrad Chicago Hotel on Monday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Authorities said a Tuesday autopsy was inconclusive and the final determination on the cause and manner of Ozersky’s death requires further testing.
Ozersky was a food writer for Esquire magazine and frequent contributor to other publications including Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal and Food & Wine. He also was an author and founding editor of New York Magazine’s Grub Street food blog.
He was on the awards committee for this year’s Beard Foundation awards, which honor those who follow in the footsteps of James Beard, considered the dean of American cooking when he died in 1985. Ozersky was in Chicago to attend the ceremony, which took place Monday night.
Ozersky, who had recently moved to Portland, Oregon, also had recently become involved with the South Beach and New York City Wine and Food Festivals. The man behind those events, Lee Schrager, said Ozersky’s legacy will be his willingness to cross boundaries in his pursuit of his writings.
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