Jonathan Kauffman grew up in a liberal Mennonite family in Indiana in which headcheese, scrapple and sauerkraut had been ditched in favor of lentil casseroles and tofu stirfries. (No one could have convinced his parents to give up pie, however.)
He fell in love with restaurants after filling in a few shifts on the dishwashing station at a small bistro in St. Paul, Minnesota, back when the balsamic vinegar and sheep’s milk cheese the cooks used were the strangest things he had ever tasted. After college, he moved to San Francisco and cooked for a number of years, then left the kitchen for the more lucrative world of journalism.
Jonathan reviewed restaurants in the Bay Area and Seattle for 11 years as the staff critic at the East Bay Express, the Seattle Weekly, and SF Weekly. From 2014 to 2019, he was a features writer at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he covered the intersection of food and culture. He now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he is a freelance writer and editor.
His reporting and criticism have won awards from the James Beard Foundation, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and the Association of Food Journalists, among others, and his articles have been anthologized in several editions of Best Food Writing.
Jonathan has contributed to the New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco magazine, Eater, Men’s Health, Wine & Spirits, and Lucky Peach (RIP), and has spoken on hundreds of radio programs and public events.