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Will Maui firefighters prevail over our island's top chefs?

September 29, 2011 - Carla Tracy

The 7th annual Chili Cook Off will ignite interest from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the 89th Maui Fair in Wailuku. It pits the best cooks from the Maui Fire Department with Maui’s top chefs such as Tylun Pang of the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui in Wailea, Ryan Luckey of Pineapple Grill in Kapalua, and private chef Riko Bartolome.

The firefighters, of course, are the crowd favorites. Plus, I would bet they make chili more often than these top-name chefs. Some make it hot like the Five Alarm Inferno. Others create chili mild with a kick, like the Back Draft.

“It will be held at the new Events Arena in front of the swimming pool on the Fairgrounds,” says publicist Carolyn Nishimura. “Hosted by the Maui Fire Department, it’s grown to be quite a popular, fun and colorful event. Monies raised by spectators purchasing $1 sample cups from the various teams are donated to the Shriners Children Hospital Patient Transportation Fund.”

Stanford Carr of Stanford Carr Development leads off this year’s judges. He’s the Events Arena’s title sponsor and he will also award someone a cash prize for the “Best All Around” dish.

Other judges are Herman Andaya, the mayor’s chief of staff; Deidre Tegarden, representing Governor’s Office; Sen. Shan Tsutsui, Hawaii senate president; Councilman Joe Pontanilla, representing County Council; Roy Silva, this year’s Maui Fair director; and yours truly. Geez, with that lineup of state and county people, I hope my picks are politically correct!


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