Popular Food Critics Die in Crash

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Allan Borgen, 75, and Isabelle “Izzy” Busse, 54, renowned food critics from California, passed away following a vehicular accident in Laclede County, Missouri, on June 8, 2024. The crash occurred on Interstate 44 around 6:45 p.m. when a semi-truck crossed the median and collided with their 2023 Chrysler Pacifica. Borgen died at the scene, while Busse succumbed to her injuries at a nearby hospital.

Borgen and Busse were recognized for their show “Let’s Dine Out,” a broadcast on KCAA radio that highlighted and reviewed various restaurants, particularly in California’s Inland Empire region. They were praised for their dedication to local dining establishments and their love for food.

KCAA’s general manager, Mark Westwood, shared his grief on social media, saying, “Everyone at KCAA is profoundly saddened by the tragic loss of our friends and colleagues. Saturday afternoons at 4 p.m. will never be the same without Let’s Dine Out. They will be greatly missed.”

Borgen’s work in the food industry wasn’t confined to “Let’s Dine Out.” He also hosted “Table for Two” on KVCR-TV and penned restaurant reviews for several local papers. Michael Borgen, who frequently collaborated with his father, spoke to the Los Angeles Times, describing Borgen’s commitment to enhancing the dining experience and his deep concern for people. “He was passionate about restaurants, but his greatest concern was for people,” Michael said. “His love for food was immense. Besides having a heart of gold, he always wanted to make others feel good.”

Borgen, known for his customary Hawaiian shirts, was remembered by his peers and the community for his positive and friendly outlook on food criticism. KVCR’s producer and host, Lillian Vasquez, spoke of Borgen’s influence, stating, “He typically highlighted positive aspects in each review. While he would mention areas for improvement, he was generally a very positive reviewer, and owners recognized him as a friendly critic.”

Borgen and Busse’s commitment to spotlighting local, small-scale eateries gained them much admiration from restaurant owners. Vasquez reflected on Borgen’s enthusiasm for supporting small businesses, saying, “Thinking about the owners, they had someone that was their friend, that was gonna help them along and say, ‘This is okay to eat here in the Inland Empire.’ We have some fantastic hidden gems and wonderful, beautiful restaurants, and he always made an effort to highlight them.”

The Missouri Highway Patrol did not provide details about the semi-truck driver’s condition at the time of the accident, and the investigation is ongoing.

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