Giant publisher Condé Nast today named Dawn Davis editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit, several months after previous editor Adam Rapaport resigned amid a blackface scandal and complaints of racially insensitive behavior at the publication.
Davis, who starts Nov. 2, was most recently vice president and publisher of 37 Ink, an imprint of Simon & Schuster that she founded. Conde Nast praised the 25-year industry vet as “an award-winning publisher and storytelling advocate who, for over two decades, has championed and elevated underrepresented voices.” In her new role, she will oversee the editorial vision of Bon Appétit and Condé Nast other food brands Epicurious, Healthyish and Basically across digital, video, OTT, social and print.
“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.
Rapoport resigned June 8 after a photo of him in brownface surfaced online. Around the same time, social media, editor Sohla El-Waylly also charged publicly that she earned less than less-qualified co-workers and wasn’t paid for video appearances as were her white colleagues. She called for Rapoport’s resignation in her social media posts. Others at the magazine joined El-Waylly in a chorus of complaints about pay disparity.
Davis’ notable titles include Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires, winner of a 2019 Whiting Award; the National Book Award finalist, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave; Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar; and New York Times bestsellers Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For by Susan Rice; The Butler: A Witness to History by Wil Haygood; The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae; and I Can’t Make This Up by Kevin Hart.
For twelve years prior to joining Simon & Schuster, Davis was at HarperCollins, overseeing the Amistad imprint, She was named the 2019 Editor of the Year by Poets & Writers.
Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, artistic director of Condé Nast US and global content advisor for the company, to whom Davis will report, added, “Dawn’s work stands out for defining and leading important cultural conversations. She is a trusted voice and supporter of a diverse and inclusive community of writers and she has shone a light on people and stories that need to be told. I am so pleased that she will bring her considerable talent to Bon Appétit.”
Davis connection to the magazine comes in part from her experience as an avid home cook whose passion for food culture led to acquire her first cookbook, Recipe of Memory: Five Generations of Mexican Cuisine, by Mary Lau Valle and Victor M. Valle, which was nominated for two Julia Child Cookbook Awards and a James Beard Award. Her interest in food and restaurants also led her to write If You Can Stand the Heat: Tales from Chefs and Restauranteurs which profiled some dynamic and prolific chefs of the time from Edna Lewis and Bobby Flay to Anthony Bourdain, Michael McCartney, Patricia Williams and Linda Rodriguez.
“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. Decisions about what we eat and with whom, who produces our food and how, influences almost every aspect of our lives,” said Davis. “I look forward to working with both the talented team at Bon Appétit and with writers and tastemakers to create an array of intriguing and inclusive recipes and stories about the intersections between food and family, culture and commerce for our audiences.”
Bon Appétit recently announced a partnership with world-renowned chef and author Marcus Samuelsson who will guest edit this year’s holiday issue and act as an ongoing content advisor for the brand. Earlier this month, Sonia Chopra began her role as Bon Appétit’s new executive editor.
The brand boasts nearly twelve million social followers, eleven million monthly unique visitors, seven million readers in print and 141 million monthly video views, and is the top-rated food brand on YouTube, surpassing six million subscribers since launch in 2018.
Condé Nast titles include Vogue, The New Yorker, GQ, Glamour, AD, Vanity Fair and Wired.