HRAEF 1st Annual Chili Cookoff

The HRA Educational Foundation (HRAEF) Prostart is pleased to report that their latest fundraiser, “The Great Hawaiian Chili Cookoff,” was a huge success! This event, which took place on March 7 at Koko Marina, featured teams from 3 high schools and 13 local restaurant industry partners who competed for the honor of being able to say they have the best chili! Kaiser, Leilehua, and Kohala high school all participated.

Each community competitor donated to HRAEF Prostart in order to be able to participate and through them and our other generous donors, we were able to provide most of the ingredients for the high schools to use to compete. In addition, Foodland was able to procure a large amount of fresh local produce and vegetables which we used to set up a local farmer’s market stand. At the stand we also sold fresh baked bread donated by the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts department.

We would like to extend a huge Mahalo to our sponsors listed on the flyer! We would not have been able to put this event on without them. Most notably, we would like to thank The State of HI Dept of Agriculture who provided us with a grant that allowed us to fund many of the expenses of this event, and helped us to make sure the ingredients that were being used were local whenever possible. Also, to Triple F for donating the plates, utensils, hang sanitizer stations, several volunteers, tables, tents and so much more to the event, not to mention countless hours helping us to plan it. They also donated butane burners to each high school that participated which they can now use in their classrooms. As mentioned above, Foodland was also a major in-kind sponsor. Hawaii Island McDonalds made a donation to Kohala High School which helped them pay for some of their travel expenses to Oahu for the weekend. The day before the event, Kapiolani Community College allowed us to use one of their beautiful kitchens so that our high schools could prepare their chili together and get to know each other before the event.

Mahalo also to Koko Marina for allowing us to use their wonderful space for the event. They were an absolute pleasure to work with and we really hope to be able to hold the event there annually. Also to Zippy’s for donating rice and cornbread which were the perfect additional to everyone’s chili. A huge mahalo to Anthology Marketing Group and Amplifire Agency for helping up create marketing materials and get the word out to the community about the event. Lastly, thank you to Pint + Jigger and Kona brewing for making sure our attendees weren’t left thirsty. They not only donated their bartenders to the event, they were also able to procure the alcohol.

Congratulations to Kaiser High School who came in first place in the high school division and HI Steaks who placed first in the community division!

Despite heavy winds while we were setting up, the event was a lot of fun and we were able to raise money for the ProStart program which inspired high school students to pursue careers in the hospitality industry through classroom engagement, internship opportunities, scholarships, and much more. To learn more please visit our website at


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