Bon Appétit Editor-In-Chief Dawn Davis Resigns After 2 Years

Having served as the editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit and Epicurious since 2020, Dawn Davis announced that she is stepping down from her position in September 2023. Per a press release from Simon & Schuster, Davis made the decision to leave the food publications to step back into her role as Senior Vice President and Publisher of 37 Ink and as Executive Editor of the Simon & Schuster trade imprint. Before joining Bon Appétit and Epicurious in 2020, she had worked at Simon & Schuster since 2013.

Davis primarily cited a desire to return to the publishing world as her reasoning for leaving the food magazines, per the press release. Davis explained, "... being away from books has only made me realize how much I love working on manuscripts. It's been exhilarating to watch the books I acquired and edited become bestsellers ..." 

Although excited about going back to publishing, Davis noted that she was proud of her role in developing quality content, building the brands' authority, and diversifying the team at Bon Appétit and Epicurious, per The New York Times

Davis started at Condé Nast amidst controversy

Davis was hired to become editor-in-chief during a controversial time for Bon Appétit and its publisher Condé Nast. The Bon Appétit editor-in-chief at the time, Adam Rapoport, resigned in June 2020 when a photo of him and his wife in racially insensitive outfits came to light. The picture resurfacing led to Bon Appétit staff members calling for his resignation, as they cited other troubling, racially-charged practices at the organization. A few months later, Davis was hired to take over the role in November 2020 to help get the company back on track.

Some initially questioned the decision, since Davis had no prior experience in magazines or recipe publishing. Even Davis herself was hesitant at first; as she told CNN, she originally thought, "Well, that's not going to work because I have no magazine experience." 

But Davis did have 25 years of book publishing experience, including authoring a book about restaurateurs, along with classes at the French Culinary Institute and a passion for cooking. After Condé Nast executives, including Anna Wintour, reached out to her with encouragement, Davis became Bon Appétit's first Black female editor-in-chief. 

At the time, Condé Nast's chief executive, Roger J. Lynch, hoped Davis' appointment would help show how seriously the company took its diversity commitments, per The New York Times. Two years later, Davis considers her work done at the publications, and Simon & Schuster is excited to welcome her back.