When I first heard of the Maui Onion Festival I thought it was kind of silly, really a festival for onions? But it turns out that this is actually an important festival as the Maui onion is one of the few vegetables that can be exported and apparently this variety is very popular with international chefs.
My last weekend on Maui I was asked to judge this festival and has less trepediation as I had already judged the Maui agricultural festival but I had no idea the dishes here would be so complex.
There were two competitions one with young chefs and another as a masters’ series.
Hands down with the first competition the Maui Onion Tortellini en Brodo from Chef Wesley Holder of Pūlehu was a shining star with the onion broth enveloping the delicate tortellini.
The masters-type competition was more difficult with so many amazing chefs interpreting the strength of the Maui onion. In the end I did agree with my fellow judges that Jojo Vasquez’s, from the The Banyan Tree at the Ritz-Carlton, take on liver and onions, a delicate mix of foie gras and the Maui onion was truly delicious – especially as I have stated many times how I dislike organs.
This is my last weekend in Maui and I think it may have ruined me because I have eaten far too many delicious dishes, oh how will I go back to my sriracha grill cheese sandwiches for dinner?
Disclosure: I was a guest of the Maui Visitors Bureau, they did not request that I write a favourable review or want to discreetly lick the plate for some of the dishes, is that still uncouth?