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
Question: What is the next food destination?
Dana Cowin: Istanbul. Istanbul is not undiscovered by any stretch, but it has for a long time had restaurant food that was essentially continental. Continental is not something anyone should search for in restaurant food my opinion. Its basically an amalgam of European sort of generic food, but now there is Turkish home cooking which is phenomenal that’s moving into restaurants. So I think Istanbul is a growing foodie destination and some foodies I know actually have gone as far as buying apartments that are closer too closer to the food. Its really really great. A foody mecca right now again not undiscovered but so huge is Tokyo. Tokyo is the most exciting food destination on the planet and it’s amazing. It was also interesting to me that there are so many Tokyo food exports. I don’t mean soy sauce which we actually find, we do have great soy sauce. I mean ingredients too, but in Tokyo there is ramen on the shops and these persons has been making ramen were actually ---- this fellow is making ramen for hundreds of years. He is an expert. So we have that exported here and that Izakaya which is exported here. I am just --- you could actually go to Tokyo and eat for a year each month following a different individual trend are not if I said trend, but a different sort of food historically Japanese or the new foods or you go to Tokyo and then eat all Italian food as Allen Richmond did for GQ which is sort of fascinating. There is one place where you go and eat in the dark and your hands are lit which is unbelievable and its just so cool and what does that mean. The focus is so completely on the food. You have the exquisite unbelievable sushi restaurants and at the Chiki market where you can have – you can see the whole fish and then you can see your table. There is Kai Sakae and again these are not --- I am not talking about anything that’s new. These have deep deep traditions, but, you know. the way that they are expressed is so incredible and what I find is that chefs around America but also around the world they used to go to France to stage and then there has been an interest in Spain. I mean there was a pilgrimages to Ferran Adria's El Bulli. People still do those two things but where are they really going? I think they are going to Japan because there are so many masters there and they are also going to South America. So there has been a huge ---- there hasn’t been a huge movement as I think they should be in South America, but I think people have to go to Lima. They have to explore the foods of Lima and then they have to go to the Amazon and it's not like there are couple of maybe amazing restaurants in the Amazon, but really it’s just that there are foods that we will never see exported and if you want to have a unique food experience as some many people do, you go to the Amazon there are thousands of varieties of fruits and vegetables and just ingredients spices we have never seen and we probably won’t ever see in large quantities.
Recorded on: 3/7/08