UPDATE: Josh Ozersky's death has been ruled a drowning as a result of a seizure, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. Ozersky drowned in the shower inside his hotel room in Chicago. He has been known to have a history of epilepsy, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Joshua Ozersky, famed food critic, founding editor of New York Magazine's Grub Street blog and founder of the Meatopia festival, was found dead in his hotel room in Chicago May 4. He was in the city to attend the James Beard awards, which took place last night at the city's Civic Opera House. He was 47.
Ozersky, known as Josh, was a native of Miami but a longtime New Yorker, equally as famous for his opinionated and incendiary writing as he was for his wide breadth of culinary expertise. An OpenTable marketer revealed on Twitter that she had been out singing karaoke with Ozersky “until the wee hours of the night” before he died.
Ozersky’s lengthy résumé puts him near the top of the “who’s who” of food figures in New York, and he was widely respected by chefs and fellow critics as one of the loudest voices in their midst. Earlier in his career, he wrote for New York City newspaper The West Side Spirit, as well as Newsday, and was famous for his fictional personas, like “Mr. Cutlets” and “The Boob,” the latter of which was his nom de plume for Suck.com, one of the earliest ad-sponsored, content-producing websites, which shut down in 2001. He later founded New York Magazine’s Grub Street blog and the Meatopia food festival. He also wrote an armful of popular books, including The Hamburger: A History and Colonel Sanders and the American Dream, and became a regular contributor to Esquire and Time Magazine.
As news of his death circulated, some of the biggest names in the food industry expressed their shock and grief, along with memories of the sharp-quilled food writer.