Molokai can cook! Just ask the group of talented home cooks who took on Maui Food Technology Center’s (MFTC) 1st Annual Ka Molokai Makahiki Beach Bucket Food Fight.  Held on January 26, 2018 at the Mitchell Pauole Center in Kaunakakai, Molokai; five teams of two were tasked with creating an appetizer and entrée using a selection of basic pantry items plus a few secret ingredients in each dish. Oh, and did we mention, they only had a limited time to accomplish this? 

But never fear, participants were up to the challenge showing their impressive culinary chops in front of this year’s esteemed judges, event host Chef Adam Tabura and MC Makani Tabura. This year’s judges were Woody Hiro, Executive Chef at Hiro’s Ohana Grill, Shirley Rawlins, President, Ka Molokai Makahiki and Uilani Lima.

First prize went to Team Broke da Mouth Lindsey Crivello and Tina Matthews, who took home a total of $ 450.00 in cash and prizes and round trip airfare to Maui for their winning dishes.

Other top placing teams were:

2nd place winners, won $ 225.00 in cash and prizes were Team Na Opio Molokai, 12 year old KiraKai Yamasaki-Gray and 13 year old Shaelynn Kong.

3rd place winners, won $ 150.00 in cash and prizes were Team Incredible Edibles, Chris and Patricia Hammond.

“We’re thrilled with the success of this year’s Cook Off which showcased the quality foods that are produced and grown right here at home,” said Luana Mahi, MFTC president. “The ingredients contestants used were just a taste of what Hawaii has to offer.”

Local products used included Shrimp from Molokai Sea Farms, Uala (Sweet Potato) from the Decoites L & R Farms and Molokai Bread from Kanemitsu Bakery.

Crivello and Matthews will compete against the winners of the Lahaina and Lanai Cook Offs on Saturday April 7th at the Maui Ag Fest and the Maui Tropical Plantation. 

Supporting the local food producers and food products which use locally grown foods is a key mission of MFTC.  

According to Mahi, “Hawaii needs to reduce its dependence on bringing food from out of state.  While top grade products command the best price, off grade products can be used in the food service industry or in value-added products.  While MFTC’s expertise is in helping to bring delicious and safe products to market, we also realize there are other opportunities to educate people about using local ingredients. This Home Cooks Challenge is one way we’re conveying the message of the importance to support and buy local.

A big Mahalo goes to event sponsors: State Farm Chad Santiago’s Office in Lahaina, Maui Economic Development Board, County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, Flavor Waves, Monsanto Hawaii, Rawlins Service Station, Friendly Market, Hawaiian Isles Unlimited LLC, and The Spice Rack Hawaii.

For more information on Maui Food Technology Center, visit, email or call 808-878-3652.