It was indeed a privilege to spend time with Lulu Chi, matriarch of the Chi family, whose many dining establishments’ offerings have for years tantalized the palates of Arkansans and beyond. A fascinating woman, her energy and youthful spirit are contagious. So, I was thrilled when she reluctantly agreed to talk to us about her family’s celebration of the Chinese New Year, which is January 28th this year. Her childhood celebrations in Taipei were grand. She continues the family traditions today with her six grandchildren in Little Rock—albeit in a more subtle manner. Learn more about her in Look Who’s Cookin’ pg. 52.

On a recent weekend I attended a lecture at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Little Rock by Brad Cushman, University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Art Curator and KUAR’s host of “Picture This.” His talk reminded me how much more there is to learn about Arkansas’ fascinating history. The lecture resulted in two history-based perspectives. The first can be found in Arts Scene, pg. 32, where we reveal Cushman’s desire to secure funds to create a digital exhibition of the powerful works of art by artist Joe Jones. Jones was commissioned to create a mural at a controversial, little-known institution in Mena called Commonwealth College.

We thought that the story of Commonwealth College was so intriguing that it was worthy of its own article. Learn more about the college and its most famous student, Orval Faubus, who denied he ever attended, although history suggests otherwise. Also, learn how Arkansas Gazette editor Harry Ashmmore made Faubus’ day during his 1954 gubernatorial campaign against incumbent Governor Frances Cherry. pg. 56

All good things—okay most good things—begin and end, or at least, should begin and end with great food. I think Lulu Chi would agree with me on that. She insists that Chinese food can’t be mass-produced, adding it is best cooked with a feel and knowing of a real cook, not a recipe reader.

On that note, I end with Jack Sundell, another lover of quality food and co-owner of The Root Cafe in Little Rock. “Local, local, local!” and “from scratch” are his mantras. The faithful and growing legion of foodies who frequent The Root are confirmation he’s onto something true. Explore his passion for creating the best food starting on pg. 46.

As,  AY Magazine is all about you, food, travel and health, may 2017 keep you in the company of people you care about and who care about you; may you enjoy traveling—whether it’s across the country to see something new, or taking a reconnoiter of your neighborhood and seeing things in a new way; and may you remain in good health or improved health to enable you to enjoy special moments everday. And I hope it happens over some good food.

Here’s to a wonderful New Year!

Enjoy,

Brigette Williams

@ThisIsBrigette