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Sep 16, 2008 11:21 AM

Elmer Dills, 1926-2008

Elmer Dills, longtime KABC-TV food critic, died yesterday in Pasadena at the age of eighty-two:

Dills, who was at his most popular in a time when Perino's was L.A.'s idea of haute cuisine, was the Jonathan Gold of an earlier generation. He may have lacked Gold's authority and sense of adventure, but he was one of the very first in southern California to point out that good food didn't have to mean linen tablecloths and expensive tabs.

"Now they fly these crab in live from Alaska every weekend. You know, in about 10 or 15 minutes, this little fellow's going to be on my plate for dinner. Wow!" -- Elmer Dills

RIP, Elmer.

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  1. I just caught the news on KPCC. He was definitely a pioneer to the masses in LA. I remember trying places like Chinois on Main and Casablanca in Venice decades ago on his rec... he proclaimed Casablanca as something to the affect of, "true Mexican haute cuisine..."

    Godspeed, my friend...

    1. Aaah.

      I have fond memories of waiting with my Grama, to watch Elmer Dill's food commmentary. The weekends always revolved around watching Julia Child, The Galloping Gourmet, Great Chefs of:, and that Cajun-Cook guy, and Elmer Dills.
      I guess I was a foodie-in-training since I was a tot.
      Elmer Dills was a part of the beginning.
      Kinda like the Huell Howser of food.

      1. Yeah, I liked his shows too. I liked the radio show a lot. I see his son Peter has a food program on a local PBS channel but it's nothing like his father.

        1. I came to L.A. in the mid-80s -- remember listening to Elmer Dills on KABC radio on weekend afternoons, after a time paired with Merrill Schindler. Also saw some of his reviews on KABC-TV. Enjoyed him a lot, and gained an easy exposure to a lot of SoCal restaurants before the day of the internet. He had a certain style, and I was a fan, despite some of his quirks and mannerisms. He exhibited intelligence and appeared to be a gentleman. I can't really say he will be missed, since the age of Chowhound and blogs along with his own illnesses caused his influence to fade, but he helped establish a genre and his contributions will be appreciated.

          1. I didn't know he was that old. I remember when he reviewed King Taco as a kid and thinking I want to go there. I don't recall his radio show but do remember him on TV.