5+5 | Dana Cowin. Positive Powerhouse. First Lady of Food. February 19 2015

My first introduction to Dana Cowin was through 5+5er and uber-foodie Joanne Wilson while on our epic Paris Photo trip. Even though I was rushing around that week from Paris to Pennsylvania, this intro was at the forefront of my mind, because—Dana Cowin! Editor-in-chief of Food & Wine, an incredible magazine and brand that somehow manages to pull off the perfect balance of aspirational and practical. Not only a cancer survivor, but one who hosted themed "cancer parties" as she went through chemotherapy. And now, creator of one of the most honest, quality cookbooks I have read, Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen: Learning to Cook with 65 Great Chefs and Over 100 Delicious Recipes.

Our intro was delightful, as to be expected from someone with the reputation for being "pathologically positive". I was thrilled to find that we shared even more friends (another 5+5er!) and to hear that Dana loved our site. We're huge fans of Dana, and we are so excited to share her thoughts on art with you here. Enjoy. – Jen

5 Perfect Picks

1) Columbus Circle, Manhattan, 1938, by Berenice Abbott
When I was growing up, my father fell in love with, and bought, photographs by Abbott and subsequently began an old-fashioned correspondence with her. They have both since passed away and this image reminds me of my youth as well as my present life on the Upper West Side.

2) Structure of Thought 30, by Mike + Doug Starn 
Abstract yet identifiable, this photograph makes me want to just sit, stare and think. I love the brutally strong black lines and the never-ending branches.

3) Dandelion Clothesline, Santiago, Chile, by William Lamson 
The whimsical quality of this photograph made me smile, a reminder of the power of an image to brighten my day.

4) Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus), by Todd R. Forsgren
This shot is both beautiful and harrowing, a super sharp commentary on the current ecological dangers.

5) Bear Cub No. 4, by Sharon Montrose
This cub, photographed out of its usual context and set against a simple backdrop, exhibits amusingly relatable human emotions. Though it's only a cub, it reminds me of some teenagers I know.

5 Q's + 5 A's

1) What's your favorite museum?
The 21_21 Design Sight museum in Tokyo, designed by Tadao Ando.

2) Most coveted coffee table book?
Cookbooks are my coffee table books. Right now I have Sean Brock's Heritage, Rene Redzepi's Noma, and Charles Phan's The Slanted Door. It's a glutton's paradise.

3) You've got $5M to spend on one piece of art. What would it be?
I would never want to spend $5 million on one piece of art. Instead, I'd use the funds to travel the world and discover emerging new artists.

4) Do you prefer a single statement piece or a salon wall?
I love covering every inch of a wall with photographs, paintings, and illustrations of different sizes.

5) If you could be reincarnated as an artist, who would you want to be?

The 411 on Dana Cowin
Dana Cowin is Food & Wine’s Editor in Chief and lead talent scout, searching out the best new ideas in food, drink, travel, entertaining, and style for the entire F&W brand, including magazine, web, tablet, social media, and books. Cowin’s first cookbook, Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen: Learning to Cook with 65 Great Chefs and Over 100 Delicious Recipes, was published by Ecco Press in 2014. She is on the board of directors of City Harvest, a New York City hunger-relief organization, and Hot Bread Kitchen, an organization that helps train low-income men and women to join the culinary workforce. In 2012, she was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who in Food & Beverage in America. Cowin is an alumna of Brown University and lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Professional Site: Food & Wine  Personal Site: Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen  Twitter: @fwscout  Instagram: @fwscout

Read the prior 5+5 with Lauren Cerand »