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Food Critic and Meat ‘Evangelist’ Josh Ozersky Dies in Chicago

Josh Ozersky in 2013 in an episode of

(Reuters) – Josh Ozersky, an award-winning food critic who preached the wonders of eating meat and founded the Meatopia outdoor food festival, has died in Chicago at age 47.

Ozersky was found dead on Monday in a room in Chicago’s Conrad Hotel, the Cook County Medical Examiner said on Tuesday. He was in town for the James Beard Foundation Awards for restaurants and chefs, the foundation said.

Local media said an autopsy was pending.

“Josh Ozersky was a meat man. He knew meat, revered it, studied it, sang it, evangelized it, wrote about it, and, of course, ate it. Lots of it,” wrote journalist Tom Junod in an obituary in Esquire, where Ozersky was a food and dining correspondent.

Ozersky also chronicled his adventures in carnivorism in Time, the Wall Street Journal and other periodicals. His latest book was “The Hamburger: A History.”

“My kitchen looks like a cult-murder scene when I’m done with it,” he wrote in a recent Esquire column.

Fellow food writers and chefs paid tribute to him as a feisty intellectual most at home in greasy, hot kitchens full of tattooed food workers, and who frequently sparred with friends, restaurateurs, other food writers and chefs.

On his Internet video program,, where he posted through 2013, he mused about meat, books and “rivulets of fat.”

He lived for years in New York City, where his 10th annual Meatopia, “The Carnivore’s Ball,” was held last October, featuring 30 chefs and 48 animals, as Ozersky posted on the event’s Facebook page. Last year, he moved to West Coast foodie haven, Portland, Oregon.

Ozersky won a James Beard Award in 2008 for his work as founding editor of New York magazine’s blog, Grub Street, the foundation said in a memoriam on its website.

In a Grub Street blog on Tuesday, restaurant reviewer Adam Platt recalled Ozersky quoting historians, writers and especially 18th century British essayist Samuel Johnson.

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