Febuary 8, 2006
In front of Rainbow Whole Foods Co-Op grocery store, Elli Williams, 25, sits cross-legged on a concrete block. A small herb garden breathes behind her. She wears a simple blue and white tie-dyed shirt and jeans. Her long blonde dreadlocks crawl and twist down her back. A small silver hooped earring hangs on her bottom lip. Her originality is refreshing.
Williams is the head chef at High Noon Café. She is one of three founders of Dry Bones, an indie art and literature journal. She paints, and she's a photographer. Creativity is a way of life for her.
Originally from Massachusetts, Williams has had the privilege of leading a somewhat nomadic lifestyle. She has called home to Virginia, Northern Ireland, where she attended University of Ulster, and now Jackson. She worked as a traveling chef in England, along with her husband, Joseph, a writer, who also has blond dreads.
Williams' juxtaposition of her passions for traveling and art produce a variety of influences in her vegan creations. Art and food are both artistically intertwined. "Color schemes, texture and taste," she says, "play a role in both."
Those unfamiliar with vegetarian cuisine can unfairly label it as, well, bizarre. Williams wants you to know that vegan dishes can be exciting, endearing and downright delectable. Her cheesecake, yes cheesecake, is made primarily of tofu. "It is so light and creamy," she says. She hails her veggie burger as her best dish. "I would eat them every day until I couldn't eat them any more," she says with satisfaction.
Williams' art is also drawing attention. She displayed three paintings—including a portrait of Joseph, at the JFPBest of Jackson party at the Electric Building. They drew many versions of "Who did these?!"
Williams has high artistic hopes for Jackson. "I want artists to realize that you can do a lot in Jackson. There are enough people (artists) here," she says. "I would love to see an artist run space here." She envisions something that would really put Jackson on the map.
Williams is lucky enough to live her life creatively. "I found a man who's a writer. I am an artist. I've traveled. My whole life revolves around creativity," she says.
This feat is her greatest accomplishment to date.