When publishing powerhouse Condé Nast announced on August 27 that Dawn Davis would be the new editor of Bon Appétit magazine, the veteran book publisher was at home on East Chop, where she and her husband Mac LaFollette have been living and working since March.

Ms. Davis, who is currently the publisher of 37 INK, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, steps into her new role at Bon Appetit on Nov. 2, where she will oversee not only the print magazine but digital products that include Epicurious, Healthyish, and Basically, as well as a robust video program.

She takes the helm at a time when the venerable cooking magazine has been rocked by controversy, including the much-publicized departure of its former editor amid claims he had fostered a workplace of racial inequality. Three popular test kitchen personalities also resigned recently after an unsatisfactory negotiation with Condé Nast Entertainment over equal pay for video work.

But as food magazines begin to confront their own time of reckoning within the publishing world in these fraught days, Ms. Davis enters as an editor with both a steady and inclusive hand, and one who has focused her work on amplifying the voices of marginalized people.

Food is an entry point to culture, Ms. Davis feels. — Jeanna Shepard

And she feels certain that food stories are more than just about cooking.

“I do believe that food encompasses all aspects of our culture, and it’s not just this silo where it’s only about what’s for dinner,” she said in a socially-distanced interview this week on her backyard patio, her three-year-old Weimaraner Kiki at her feet and a teenage son rushing by with golf clubs. “It’s definitely that, but it’s more than that. Food touches us in so many ways,” she said.

In a way, food stories have been sneaking up on Ms. Davis throughout her 30 years in book publishing. She authored If You Can Stand the Heat: Tales from Chefs and Restaurateurs in 1999, and edited Recipe of Memory: Five Generations of Mexican Cuisine by Mary Lau Valle and Victor M. Valle, which was nominated for a James Beard award. But she also sees food stories in the words of many of her fiction and narrative nonfiction writers, some of whom she hopes to bring into the Bon Appétit fold.

She said she sees cultural food stories as a way to add to Bon Appétit, while not taking away what has made the brand so popular in recent years.

“You know I’ve been overwhelmed with people saying, ‘This is my favorite food magazine. I’ve subscribed to it for years. I love it.’ And I don’t want to change what is working,” Ms. Davis said. “So I just want to add to it and bring new food writers and other cultural writers in to bear on how food mixes with other aspects of our culture.”

That’s about all she will say for now about any future plans for Bon Appetit, preferring instead to first spend time with her staff, listening to their ideas, once she returns to New York and begins work in November.

“I want to see if there are things they felt like they’ve been wanting to do and unable to do in the past,” she said. “My job is to let people do what they love and to come up with a coherent vision.”

In the interim, she feels a responsibility to finish her work at 37 INK in the next couple of months. “There is a lot that I have to do [for the new job], but at the same time I have to wrap up, and I want to bring all the integrity I can to that,” she said.

Her impressive list of authors includes Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Susan Rice, Wil Haygood, Issa Rae, Kevin Hart and more.

The prospect of new challenges is exciting to her. “I think flexing the brain and pushing yourself is good. This is a chance to try something new in a field I’ve always respected,” she said. “I’ll get a chance to do podcasts and the BA videos and conferences.”

Undoubtedly some of those conferences will be gatherings of foodies; Davis has already made the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival an annual tradition, using the fall weekend as an excuse to invite authors and colleagues to the Vineyard.

“Friends, food, and the Vineyard combined. It’s like all the things I love,” she admitted.

She continued: “Last year I came with Marisa Meltzer, who was working on a book called This is Big, which is a story partly about Jean Nidetch, who founded Weight Watchers, and partly about Jean. And we came with Veronica Chambers, who’s an editor at The New York Times, also a big foodie who had co-written Marcus Samuelson’s and Eric Ripert’s memoirs, and Jen Marshall, who’s a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Agency.”

Food is an integral part of Ms. Davis’s Vineyard life, whether it’s shopping at Ghost Island Farm and Morning Glory Farm and making dinner at home for her family, heading out to a restaurant or gathering with friends. She and Mac have a rich community of friends on the Island and East Chop dinner parties are friendly and regular.

“My favorite meal I had this summer was at a party my friend Dawn Porter threw. Shane Tank, who’s a private caterer, did a lobster dish with a cauliflower and white chocolate puree that just blew my mind. I don’t know if I would have been able to guess what was in it, but it was delicious,” Ms. Davis said. “Food on the Vineyard is amazing.”

Yet it’s evident that friends like Dawn Porter, the documentary filmmaker who produced John Lewis: Good Trouble, are even more important to Ms. Davis than the food.

“This season, even before summer, Dawn and I walked these land bank trails, which were so beautiful. And right there, that’s my Vineyard life — going hiking, in nature, with my dog, and with one of my dearest friends who happened to produce the John Lewis documentary.”

Ms. Davis is also a champion of all things literary on the Island, taking an active role in recruiting authors to the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival and Author Series every year, forming The Inkwell Book Club, and for many years staging an annual literary luncheon on the Island.

“There’s an intellectual life I get to tap into here,” she said. “The literary community is so huge on the Island so I get to go and listen to all these authors talk.” She added:

“I’ve seen Skip Gates and Eric Foner speak on reconstruction. I saw David McCullough talk about his book The Wright Brothers with 600 people at the Camp Ground on a Friday night. I go to documentaries. You know there’s nothing like watching a documentary with the Vineyard crowd. There’s so much knowledge and enthusiasm, and often the people who make the documentaries are also in the audience.

“So yeah, the Vineyard takes up a lot of space in my mind and in my soul.”