Ulupalakua’s statewide chili cook off heating up

The competition is already heating up for the first Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI) Hawaii State Chili Championship at Ulupalakua Ranch Store on Sunday.

The inaugural event, which is a benefit for the Maui 4-H Livestock Association, is not only drawing local chili enthusiasts and businesses such as Three’s Bar & Grill and Maui Brewing Co., but some stiff world-class competition as well.

Local chili cooks will have the opportunity to battle for chili supremacy against the CASI 2004 Terlingua International Chili Champion, Roger Foltz, who will be visiting from Texas. Another serious contender is Christine Vestfals, the 2008 CASI California State Chili Champion, who now lives in Kihei.

“It’s the first one and we’re hoping to expand on it in the future,” says Chef Will Munder of Ulupalakua Ranch Store, “For the public, we’re going to feature our local beef, elk and lamb burgers for which we’re known.”

Munder will also utilize Haliimaile Pineapple Co. fruit in warm bread pudding baked with rum, topped with caramel sauce with Maui Blanc wine. We’ll have our regular menu items, some specials, and live music on the lanai.”

The public is invited to join in the fun and vote for People’s Choice chili beginning at 1 p.m. There are a limited number of seats available at the judging table on a first come, first served basis.

The days festivities can also include a wine tasting at Maui Winery’s Tasting Room across the street from the store. Visit or call 878-2561.