FIVE-ALARM HEAT . . . On Sunday, top Maui chefs went wok to wok against the Maui Fire Department at the Maui Fair in the eighth annual Chili Cook-off. Even though I've "bean there, done it," I was honored to appear as a judge again as the tastes are always so soul satisfying.
Winning in the Traditional Category were chefs Chris Schobel and Ryan Luckey of Hula Grill, who heated things up with their incendiary Hula Habanero entry. The duo won a $300 prize, but promptly gave it back to the Shriners Hospital, the event beneficiary.
Chefs from the Grand Wailea won in two categories. Ty Sagayaga won for Freestyle Category for his Body by Chili and John Morales for his Vegetarian Chili. An interesting note is that the two vegetarian entries garnered the most points overall.
Hula Grill’s Sous Chef Ryan Luckey (left) and Executive Chef Chris Schobel won Maui Fair’s Chili Cook-off traditional category Sunday as the crowds cheered.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
The People's Choice Award went hands down to Lahaina Firefighters B Watch. Team leader Shawn Rogers along with Matthew Mann, John Devlin and Kamuela Guth won over the crowd with their Freestyle chili topped with avocado, sour cream and cilantro sprigs.
KAOI Radio personality Cindy Paulos did an excellent job as emcee again and even told the crowd about Chasen's Famous Chili Recipe. Apparently, the former LA restaurant shipped it around the world to movie sets for Liz Taylor and even declined to give up the recipe to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt back in the day.
Another Chili Cook-off judge, Chris Speere of the Maui Culinary Academy, told me Noble Chef, MCA's biggest fund raiser of the year, is already sold out -before they even mailed out the invitations! But you can still support the college program - just go to the mauinews.com website and click on my "Noble Chef" blog and read how easy it is to do it.
Got restaurant / dining event scoop? Call Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Executive Chef Sheldon Simeon of Ho Aloha, the parent company of Star Noodle, Leoda's Kitchen & Pie Shop and Aloha Mixed Plate, was in the chili crowd, pushing a double stroller with two sleeping keiki. I asked him if it was true if he'll appear on "Top Chef" this fall, but he was tight lipped about it, as he should be.
But rumor has it he will appear on the Bravo Network show starting Nov. 7 and the episodes will continue through the new year. In addition, Simeon's employer, Ho Aloha, will be a big supporter for the Lahaina Plantation Days coming up Oct. 18 to 20. The three-day event will be held at the old Pioneer Mill site near the historic smokestack on Lahainaluna Road. Enjoy food from 20 booths, the beer and wine garden, coffee tent, game booths, horse rides, island music and much more.
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ROLL OUT THE BARREL . . .Celebrating Maui's longest running Oktoberfest every Friday and Saturday night this month will be Brigit & Bernard's Garden Cafe in the Kahului Industrial Area. Come do the chicken dance to the live oom-pah-pah band in the bier garten, sip some frothy German brews, and savor foods from the buffet or order sampler platters at lunch on Fridays. Groups of 10 or more get discounts. Call 877-6000.
Pineapple Grill in Kapalua will also host an Oktoberfest celebration at 3 p.m. Oct. 14 in conjunction with the kick off for the Green Bay Packers versus the Houston Texans. We'll have more info next week.
Put on your dancing shoes and do the salsa to Latin tunes by Eddie Palmieri Friday in The MACC's Castle Theater in Kahului. "Three's Catering will get you salivating with its crab cakes with mango chutney and furikake mac-nut crusted chicken breast in passionfruit butter sauce," says Luana Argel, co director of food and beverage for The MACC. "We'll have some great tequila, beer and wine specials, too!"
Serving local, Korean and Asian foods, Yum Yum Restaurant in Wailuku Industrial Area will host its grand re opening Tuesday with 20 percent off its lunch menu and a free dinner buffet from 6 to 8 p.m. (while supplies last). Wednesday, you may come in for free pupu from 8 to 9 p.m.
Komoda's Bakery in Makawao is up and running again after its annual fall cleaning and much-needed September employee hiatus.
Italy will be the featured country Friday in Lahaina at the next dinner of 100 Wines in its monthly Passport Wine Series. Call 661-6181.