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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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News Thu Feb 26 2009

RIP James Ward

James Ward, former food critic for WLS-TV and the Sun-Times, passed away today after a long illness. From his Channel 7 bio:

Ward was restaurant critic and food columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, from 1978-1984. Prior to this, he was restaurant critic for the Chicago Daily News.

From 1969 to 1974, Ward served as editorial director for R.R. Donnelley & Sons in Chicago where he was responsible for producing travel and food magazines.

He began his career as a restaurant critic as editor and assistant publisher of Restaurants and Institutions, a food service industry trade magazine from 1960-1969.

Ward, a Chicago native, graduated from Loyola University, and holds a Master's degree in political history from the University of Chicago. He and his wife reside on the city's north side.

Ward was memorable for his often flamboyant delivery and purple prose, employed here in this review of Lindy's Chili (from early 2000s, judging from the website at the end) -- and his trademark red-rimmed glasses.

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kiplog / February 27, 2009 2:49 PM

I had the pleasure of working with James on a magazine years ago, and even wound up eating dinner with him in footage of a St. Patty's Day report (he recruited me off a barstool when he walked into a pub and recognized me).

His Bread & Circuses reports were fun fare, but I relished the times I got to talk food with him, when I could get some of his more serious knowledge of food and dining around.

He was always articulately professional, while at the same time being a truly unique character, and a whole lot of fun.

Bob Skilnik / March 6, 2009 10:41 AM

My God...where was I when this was announced?

I loved James Ward. Always thought of him as sort of a "Gil" from Frasier..."rumping with my boyhood chums."

He had the shtick and expertise to back it up. That's good show business. Wow, a real shame.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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