Maui Food and Dining

Call for Entries for State Chili Cook Off at Ulupalakua

July 2, 2014, 10:00 AM HST
* Updated July 2, 11:47 AM
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By Vanessa Wolf

Maui Fair Chili Cook-off (not - obviously - the same thing.) File photo.

Maui Fair Chili Cook-off (not – obviously – the same thing.) File photo.

Do you make the best chili in all of Hawai’i?

Prove it for once and for all by entering your masterpiece in the second annual Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI) Hawai‘i State Chili Championship Cook Off.

CASI is a non-profit orga­ni­za­tion that promotes chili appre­ci­a­tion and raises over $1 mil­lion annu­ally for local char­i­ties and its own schol­ar­ship fund.

Held on Sunday, July 20 at Ulupalakua Ranch, there are three categories:

  • CASI Rules
  • People’s Choice
  • Best Restaurant

all of which must be cooked onsite the day of the event.


CASI Rules are pretty darn intense.

For starters, chili must be prepared from scratch (meaning no commercial chili mixes) and made with ground beef.

Moreover, it cannot contain any discernible fillers, such as beans, rice, pasta, vegetables, etc.


Once you successfully cross those hurdles, your finished product is judged on five criteria:

  1. Aroma
  2. Red Color
  3. Consistency
  4. Taste
  5. Aftertaste

A little too restrictive?

The People’s Choice and Restaurant categories are “anything goes,” so the more adventurous chili chefs can add all the black beans, wild rice, cherry Starbursts, ground buffalo and corn kernels their little hearts desire.

The top three Hawai‘i resident cooks will be invited to compete at the legendary Terlingua International Chili Championship (TICC) in Texas on Nov. 1, 2014.

In addition, prizes include a hand-painted cook stove donated by Shaka Pops Maui for the first place Hawai‘i cook, as well as gifts from Ulupalakua Ranch and Maui’s Winery.

Last year, Makawao resident Don Miller kicked butt and took names.

Not only did he win first place with his “Hawaiian Heat Chili,” but  he also snatched the People’s Choice award.

10469067_681457018586710_4048237154751421809_oThink you can trump him?

The deadline for contestant registration is next Wednesday, July 9, and the entry form is available online.

There is a $50 entry fee with a limit of one chili entry per cook and proceeds from the event benefit the Maui 4-H Livestock Association.

The 2013 event raised over $1,600 for the Association.

This year, CASI Hawai’i State Chili Championship will be held in conjunction with Ulupalakua’s “Sunday Drive” event: a day of local entertainment, food and fun.

Ulupalakua Ranch does not have a street address, but its GPS coordinates are Longitude: 20.647957 and Latitude: 156.397555.

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