We are deeply saddened to hear that Josh Ozersky, one of the world's most hilarious, irreverent, and thoughtful food writers, died on Monday. He was attending the James Beard Awards in Chicago.
Josh was a longtime friend to the VICE family and one of MUNCHIES' first contributors. He made us laugh out loud with his insightful and, at times, uncensored approach to food culture's unexplored crevices. Food was no idol to Josh, which is one of the qualities that made him an inimitable voice that won't soon be forgotten.
He was a James Beard Award winner, the founding editor of New York magazine's food blog, Grub Street, and wrote both The Hamburger: A History, and Meat Me In Manhattan: A Carnivore's Guide to New York City. Josh was also a frequent contributor to Esquire, Time Magazine, and Wall Street Journal among many other publications. His insatiable passion for meat inspired him to create Meatopia, a traveling, annual food festival for carnivores that focused on glorifying all things meat.
Josh provided the unexpected in both his writing and friendship. If it wasn't an email to "tip us off" on anecdotes about the "Rolls Royce of pork," or inviting us on adventures that only Josh could discover (like bison barbecues hosted by millionaires), it was a lunch invitation at a place "you've got to try."
MUNCHIES' co-executive producer, Chris Grosso, who worked closely with Josh over the past few years, shares the following:
The first time I met Josh Ozersky, he showed up to Marea with a half-eaten porchetta sandwich in his pocket. He then promptly ordered two pastas, and then had grappa, followed by an espresso. All of this was in preparation to go out for a night of eating for an episode of Chef's Night Out, which was Munchies at the time.
As Josh once put it, he was an "A-class writer," "B-level" food celebrity, and "C-class human being." This was just one of ten million funny things that he said to me over the course of our friendship. His food writing was not flowery, but accurate and poignant. His Restaurant for Fat People essay for Gastronomica, published in December, 2011, stands as one of the funniest things I have ever read, mostly because I knew he meant it. His description of something being as useful as a referee in a professional wrestling match still blows my mind.
I am so upset that I won't hear or read things like this ever again.
We were supposed to film with Josh in Portland later this month for an Episode of Fuck, That's Delicious. Josh was the first person in food media to embrace a young chef-turned-rapper, Action Bronson, and this was our chance to bring it full circle. Josh had made it to the top as Food Editor at Esquire, as Action has settling into his role as culinary ambassador to today's youth. Josh had an itinerary for them, which included edibles, fried chicken, and freshly slaughtered lamb to be barbecued in the woods and eaten shirtless. We plan on carrying out Josh's ideas, and hopefully we can capture what Josh had intended.
Our hearts go out to Josh's family and friends.
Mr. Cutlets, we love and miss you,
The entire MUNCHIES staff
Read some of Josh Ozersky's writing: Ewe Had Me at All the BBQ You Can Eat Lambstock Leaves Me Weak The Glutton's Guide to Buffets The Painful Exile to Brooklyn Dos and Don'ts of the Burger Bash My Brooklyn Neighbors Hate Me A Guide to Gnarly Beef That Can Kill You All Chefs Hate All Food Writers My Gourmet Guide to Bad Chinese Takeout