Dana Cowin is the editor in chief of Food and Wine magazine. Previously, Ms. Cowin served as the executive editor of Mademoiselle, the managing editor of HG Magazine, and associate editor of Vogue. A recent guest judge on Top Chef, she is a member of the board of directors of City Harvest. Cowin received her B.A. from Brown University in 1982, and resides in Manhattan with husband Barclay Palmer, who is a producer at CNN
Topic: Kitchen trends on the horizon.
Dana Cowin: Kitchens have been ---- so we went from white kitchens to stainless steel kitchens and now I think we are going to move into color kitchens and it's just ---- stainless steel is quite cold and it’s not that easy to take care of. The reason stainless steel came sort of into vogue was because you know people emulating the chef kitchens and there are so many chefs on TV and that’s so great. So they wanted to be the little chefs at home for the chefs with the hats at home but now I think that as a kitchen has become more of a living room if living rooms have color why can’t kitchens have color, kitchens with moveable furniture. There is a great emphasis in the kitchen on speed. So there's ovens that will do it faster for you. TurboChef has --- who is an Oven Manufacturer---makes oven that will cook things in general 15 times faster than your normal oven. I think there is a rise of some small gadgets which I am pretty gadget averse because I have a small New York City kitchen, but I have been convinced that certain gadgets are absolutely worth it like a rice cooker. I don’t know but people swear by it and it changes their lives. Other changes in the kitchen I think the biggest change in the kitchen is moving the kitchen outdoors. So we have fancied up our kitchen as much as really possible beyond our abilities for sure and now we have moved to the outdoor kitchen because people now --- people cook outside four seasons. I have great letters from people in Chicago or in Canada saying “oh yeah of course you know I grill all winter and I just got my coat. I run out --- I flip my sticker and I come back in and it’s fantastic. There is so little cleanup.” So now the kitchen united with the living room because you basically have in island and you can do your homework or you can do your work work whatever. Ultra kitchen the same thing. Its not just one huge grill, a grill, a refrigerator, a sink and furniture all together and its amazing because being sort of New York centric, it’s not something we see as much but when you travel the country Texas, California in the South they have the most magnificent outdoor living setups, Florida it’s phenomenal. And the other thing in the kitchen is eco-materials. So people worrying about off gassing, people worrying about VSU paint, people worrying about what is their countertop, there are so many new materials that you can find that are beautiful and adorable and eco. I'm really excited about that trend. Then the other thing is that wine coming into the kitchen, so now wine fridge is everywhere in the kitchen, but in the den, people’s bedrooms. I actually have one in the bathroom closet, but ---- whatever. That's cause I don’t have that much space, but wine sellers with kitchens attached. Again kitchen is migrating all over the house. So you can go downstairs to a cellar, but there is a kitchen there and then there is another little room where you canhavedinner adjacent to your cellar, part of the huge wine drum, little burners and in upstairs kitchen so that you don’t have to travel the house. Laziness and the size of the American house. So as the American house has grown so big, you know you don’t want to go all the way to the kitchen anymore and you have this extra little space you aren’t sure what to do with. So you have a little --- it’s basically a morning set up and a nighttime set up. So you would have your break fast in your bedroom, in your bedroom suite in these big American houses, in the development house. Yeah it’s kind of fabulous, beverage centers everywhere, beverage center in the living room, so refrigerator drawers everywhere.
Question: Will the recession put a damper on this?
Dana Cowin: Well. You know all our recessions last a certain amount of time and then we come out of them. I have not seen any movement towards a smaller house less for footage and there is a sort of perennial American interest in new. So yes it will slow down, but I don’t think it’s the end of anything. I think what might happen is that people instead of selling their houses because the housing market is so problematic. What they will do if they really itch to be some place else is fix up their kitchen. So we will see some great kitchen upgrades that make people feel like they have gone to another house because they live in their kitchen of course. So just walk through that door and there could be a new space if they do a renovation as opposed to move completely.
Recorded on: 3/7/08