We'd like to nominate January 8 as National Dana Cowin Day.
We haven't paid off the weird North Dakota office responsible for food holidays, but in the Food & Wine world, we'd like to nominate January 8 as National Dana Cowin Day. That's because today, after an epic 21 years at the helm of Food & Wine magazine, our fearless, perpetually-positive head talent scout and editor-in-chief Dana Cowin is leaving the magazine to begin a new role: Chief Creative Officer of Chefs Club by Food & Wine, a restaurant created in partnership with F&W with locations in Aspen and New York City.
Over the last two decades, Dana has helped transform little-known cooks like David Chang into superstars by naming them Food & Wine Best New Chefs and otherwise showcased the people and ideas that have shaped the future of food. She's also inspired us with her dedication to philanthropy. She’s a founding member of City Harvest's Food Council, where she masterminded Skip Lunch Fight Hunger—a campaign that over the past 13 years has raised more than $5 million dollars to help kids in need and their families. More recently, she’s been working to help remedy the enormous problem of food waste through a series of print and digital initiatives, including #LoveUglyFood. She proved it's never too late to overcome a fear of cooking with her cookbook Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen. And apparently, way back in the ‘90s, she was a pioneer of the one-earring trend that's popping up yet again (it only took 20 years to come back). Dana, thank you for being one of the best #foodwinewomen leaders we could ask for. We’ll miss you!
Here's what three of our top Chefs-in-Residence had to say about her superpowers, when asked for her 20th anniversary:
Jacques Pépin: "She loves people and always sees the best in them. She makes you feel comfortable and important because she is generous and kindhearted, and I love her very much."
Andrew Zimmern: "Everyone knows Dana's gorgeous, smart, elegant and funny, but her greatest superpower is her humanity. She is the best friend a person could have, ferociously loyal and principled. I love her madly."
David Chang: "Dana is tenaciously optimistic about life. It's uncanny and I wish it could rub off on me!"
As a thank you for her widespread impact, Daniel Boulud set in motion an outpouring of flowers from the world's greatest chefs. Our office smelled of roses for days. Click through the slideshow to see how chefs do flower arrangements and keep an eye out for #DayofDana on social!