In the past couple of weeks, Bon Appétit has parted ways with editor in chief Adam Rapoport after photos of him in brownface surfaced, lost two Black editorial staffers, and had six employees who fronted the beloved Test Kitchen video series quit due to allegations of pay inequity and rampant systemic racism at the culinary magazine.
After the series of controversies, the 64-year-old Condé Nast publication has begun to take steps in the right direction with the appointments of Sonia Chopra as Bon Appétit’s new executive editor and world-renowned chef and author Marcus Samuelsson, who will guest edit the 2020 holiday issue and act as an ongoing content adviser. Today, the publication also announced the hiring of Dawn Davis as its new editor in chief.
Davis, who was most recently vice president and publisher of Simon & Schuster imprint 37 Ink, will be the first Black woman to lead the magazine. She will be responsible for the editorial vision across all Bon Appétit channels and its food brands—Epicurious, Healthyish and Basically—spanning digital, video, OTT, social and print platforms.
“A proven trailblazer in publishing and known for her innovative approach, Dawn’s ability to find emerging voices and give them the platforms to transform our society is unparalleled,” said Roger Lynch, CEO of Condé Nast, in a statement. “As she joins Bon Appétit with one of the most passionate and engaged audiences in the culinary world, it’s thrilling to think about how our relationship with food will be enhanced through her leadership and vision.”
During her over two decades in book publishing, Davis championed BIPOC voices at the two imprints she has overseen, 37 Ink and HarperCollins’ Amistad. These authors include Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Susan Rice, Wil Haygood, Edward P. Jones, Attica Locke and Chris Gardner. Davis founded 37 Ink in 2013.
“Like the Bon Appétit brand, I see food at the epicenter of all we do. Food is connected to community and culture, economics and family,” Davis said in a statement. “Decisions about what we eat and with whom, who produces our food and how, influences almost every aspect of our lives.”
Davis’ love of food culture also led her to publish her own book in 1999, If You Can Stand the Heat: Tales From Chefs and Restauranteurs, which profiled chefs such as Edna Lewis, Bobby Flay, Anthony Bourdain, Michael McCartney, Patricia Williams and Linda Rodriguez.
Davis will begin her new role Nov. 2. She will report to Anna Wintour, the editor in chief of Vogue and artistic director and global content adviser of Condé Nast US (and Adweek’s 2017 Brand Visionary).