Joshua Ozersky, a renowned food writer for the Esquire magazine, was found dead at Conrad Chicago Hotel in the Near North Side community area in Chicago, Illinois on Monday. The Cook County medical examiner’s office reportedly confirmed the death but did not reveal the cause, reports said. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.
The 47-year-old was in Chicago for an awards ceremony by the James Beard Foundation where he was a member of the national advisory board. His friends said they last saw him at a karaoke lounge at about 4:00 a.m., the New York Times reported.
Portland, Orgeon-based Ozersky was also the founder of Meatopia, a traveling, annual food festival, where several chefs prepare a variety of dishes to celebrate the consumption of meat. The event is attended by thousands of people on an annual basis.
“He was an advocate for maximimalist food. He loved meat, and he saw great meat-cookery as the ultimate expression of culinary culture,” John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and noted food writer who attended Monday’s Beard awards, said, according to the Los Angeles Times, adding: “He was a really good writer. He bared his soul through writing about food and set a standard for that sort of writing. Everything he did was overwrought and purposefully so.”
Ozersky wrote for the Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine, and other publications. He also authored “The Hamburger: A History” (2008) and “Meat Me In Manhattan: A Carnivore’s Guide to New York City” (2003), the Los Angeles Times reported. He founded Glub Street, the food blog of the New York magazine, and was a recipient of the James Beard Award, which is given for excellence in cuisine, culinary writing and culinary education.
Ozersky had used pseudonyms like Casper Gutman and Mr. Cutlets in the beginning of his career and later emerged as one of the most forceful writers in New York, the Times reported.
“I would say that his time out here was too short, but he had already made a lot of friends in the chef and food writer communities and had eaten his way through a scary number of our best restaurants,” Michael Russell, a food critic at the Oregonian in Portland, said, according to the Los Angeles Times.