Bon appetit needs to be changed. Its new editor is ready for major challenge

This friend, a restaurant owner, suggested that Davis throw her name out for consideration, but the book publishing executive was hesitant.

Davis told CNN Business earlier this month in a phone interview, “And I thought, ‘Sure,’ think, ‘well, because I don’t have any magazine experience, it’s not going to work. It’s a job.” Not going to do. ”

“Dawn has thought from 30,000 feet. You’ll see it through the material,” Samuelson told CNN Business. “It’s going to change dramatically. It’s going to be dramatically more inclusive, and then it affects the industry and it forces our competitors to look at that place. It’s needed.”

The food media industry has long been accused of promoting “white beauty”, exposing white chefs and personalities, as Navneet Alang wrote for Eater. This summer’s repetition on racial injustice prompted many to investigate and call for complexity and prejudice in their own industries. Food media people saw Rapoport, who apologized for his “failures,” and Los Angeles Times food critic Peter Meehan lost his job over allegations of toxic or discriminatory behavior. Mehan apologized but also said that many of the allegations against him were not true. Just before summer, The New York Times hired cooking columnist Allison Roman on leave, as she criticized Mary Kondo and Chrissy Teigen for two successful women. Roman apologized and said he was “very embarrassed” about those comments.

Davis is joining Bon Appétit as an outsider to some extent – not only because she is the magazine’s first black female editor-in-chief, but also because the book has come from the publishing world, where she has spent 25 years Worked. But Davis is no food. She wrote and edited books about food, and as a fond home cook, she is known to favor “eating for living” rather than “eating for living”. Will it be enough to renew confidence – from employees, advertisers and readers – in Bon Appetit?

“If you can’t see it …”

After graduating from Stanford, Davis began his career on Wall Street. Her job as an analyst at an investment bank was in demand and not Davis considered “soul satisfying”. Despite the long hours, Davis found time to relax by taking cooking classes at the French Culinary Institute.

“Everyone was on track at Harvard Business School, and everyone was going – and went – to these uber successful jobs on Wall Street. I just had to follow this passion to learn to cook and play in the kitchen, and I did, ”Davis said.

Don Davis & quot;  Photo & quot;  World premiere at SVA Theater in New York City on February 11, 2020.

In 1989, she won a scholarship to study literature in Nigeria. Davis said she loved reading books at a young age, but did not realize that it was possible to pursue a career in the book industry until the flight to Nigeria where she sat next to the book publisher in Plain.

Davis said, “They say, ‘If you can’t see it, you don’t know that you can be it.” “I haven’t met anyone who actually publishes books.”

But jumping from Wall Street to book publishing was financially risky. Davis said a career change meant her salary was halved. His friends and family made the jump even after questioning his decision. But she loved the job so much that at one point she thought, “When they find out how much fun I’m having, they’re going to bite my back.”

“Like to see my memorial”

Davis rose through the ranks and worked at some of the world’s most renowned publishing houses, including Random House, Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster. Despite being new to the field, he quickly relied on his ability as an editor.

Davis said, “I knew that I could be a lawyer, a great advocate for any book.” “I never doubted that a writer would have someone who was more passionate, who was going to dot with more I and cross more T than me and just edit it to the Nth degree.”

In the 1990s, while working at Random House, Davis met Jonathan Karp – the publishing executive, who would later recruit him to Simon & Schuster, where he would then become CEO.

“We are both deeply interested in non-cultural work,” Karp told CNN Business. “Don has a great presence. I enjoyed the time to meet him.”

He recalled that he had tried to buy Eric Scloser’s “Fast Food Nation” together, but could not find it.

Davis has since served Edward P. Edited Pulitzer Prize-winning books such as Jones’s “The Nose World” and Chris Gardner’s “The Pursuit of Happiness”, which was turned into a film starring Will Smith. He is acclaimed for promoting Black writers and enhancing the stories of marginalized people, which became the focus of 37 Ink, his imprint of Simon & Schuster.

“I think a lot of people would say that she’s probably the leading black woman in the editorial world of publishing. However, there are other black editors, and I don’t want to ignore her in any way, but Don stands tall,” “Carp Added.

(LR) Don Davis, Michela Angela Davis, Tatyana Jones Gibson, Jazmine Sullivan and Beverly Bond stepped on stage for the Black Girl Magic panel during BGR!  Celebration - 2 days at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC on 09 March 2019.
Karp said he saw his success as “remarkable” and hoped he would continue the remainder of his career at Simon & Schuster. But in August, Davis shared news of her passing with her boss, colleagues and writers.

“I think I lived to see my memorial,” Davis said. “I heard it more than once: ‘It’s great for you personally, and it’s great for Condé Nast, and it’s great for magazines. But this book is a loss for publication.’ I was a champion of black voices in particular and for a long time in general and simply people of quality publishing. ”

But the editor in chief of Bon Appetit was a role he could not refuse.

“Always talk about food”

Early memories of Davis’s food revolve around the family. She recalled going to Mary Callender in Los Angeles with her family – a weekly ritual that meant her mom and aunt could take a break from cooking. He made love on Christmas Eve when his aunt would make Gumbo, inviting not only family but also neighbors and friends.

“The joy and selflessness that my aunt Stella gave to cook food for other people,” Davis said. “I combine food and community and celebration and just live together.”

Later, Davis, who lived and worked in New York, was exposed to a vibrant restaurant scene. She became a regular customer at Scandinavian hotspot Aquavit, where she began a lifelong friendship with executive chef, Marcus Samuelson.

“He wasn’t just a regular customer,” Samuelson said. “He was like, ‘Why are you doing this? What’s in the food here?” He had questions about food. ”

Don Appetite editor-in-chief Don Davis in his kitchen at home.

Davis said her husband teases her for missing specific details of the meal – but not what they discussed while eating it. “I’d say, ‘Oh my God, yess. You did pork chops with sage butter and blistered green beans, and I had …’ In the meantime, I wouldn’t be able to remember something super, super important to my food.” There is a fun insight into how to prioritize. “

Although Davis has her first job at Bon Appetite magazines, this will not be her first experience in food journalism. He interviewed celebrity chefs including Edna Lewis and Bobby Flay for his 1999 book, “If You Can Stand the Heat: Tales from Chefs and Restaurateurs”. Karp said he did not know about Davis’ love of food, but “could have guessed it” because he had recently acquired a cookbook for the publishing house.

“No prior assumption”

Davis is not the only Bon Appétit team apart. In addition to Samuelson serving as a consultant, Condé Nast hired Sonia Chopra, former director of editorial strategy for Vox Media’s Eater, as executive editor. Chopra’s hiring was announced on the same day, following the resignation of three journalists of Bone Appetit’s test kitchen video.

Chopra said Davis, whom he had not met, but had heard of, was a welcome choice.

A screenshot from a video where Bon Appetit editor-in-chief Don Davis chats with Bon Appetit executive editor Sonia Chopra and chef Marcus Samuelson, who is also Bon Appetit's global brand advisor.

Chopra said, “I think media is an industry that can be very useful.” “Don – someone who was such a leader and such a powerhouse in publishing – is coming into the industry with a really clear eye, with no prejudice about how a magazine should be billed or a book. How’s the front. I think it’s going. So fresh. ”

Davis has gone on a listening tour at his new job, zoning questions and comments about the culture and treatment of individuals in the conde.

Davis said, “Some of the people I spoke to were people of color who felt they were listened to, respected.” But those challenges did not scare me away from the occasion. Honestly, most American companies with a certain size and a certain length of existence have to do this job. ”


Leave a Reply