Monday, October 3, 2011

TMDTIATW: Kitch'n Cook'd Potato Chips

The most delicious thing I ate this week (TMDTIATW) were potato chips from the legendary Maui Potato Chip Factory. I sent $32 (to: Maui Potato Chip Factory, 295 Lalo St, Kahului HI 96732), waited a good while, and my hero, Mark Kobayashi, sent back four bags like this:

...except full of potato chips.

Here they are, viewed in their natural habitat (please click to expand):

You can't buy these anywhere, including on Maui, where they hardly make it off the delivery truck and onto store shelves before they're snapped up. Mark Kobayashi could increase capacity, and sell them all over Maui, the Islands, the country, and the world, but he doesn't want to expand. He just wants to make the world's greatest potato chips. Frito Lay has offered him big money, but he won't sell out. He doesn't want big money, he just wants to make the world's greatest potato chips.

He just wants to make the world's greatest potato chips.

None of those "Hawaiian style" potato chips you see in supermarkets - some even using term "Maui" - are Mark Kobayashi's chips. That's just Frito Lay expressing its extreme displeasure, with laughable impotence.Mark Kobayashi's chips have nothing in common with them. His thick, brown, soulful spuddy steaks are better than anything you ever had.

The greatest wine in the world is only slightly better than the second greatest wine. The fastest sports car in the world is only slightly faster than the second fastest. But thanks to talent, diligence, love, and a very clear picture of what he wants out of his life (and a willingness to discard the rest), Mark Kobayashi is able to produce chips that are, by my calculation, exactly 3200 times better than the next best.


sku said...

Thanks for this report. There was a time, years ago, when you could get these on Oahu where I visit pretty frequently. I never go to Maui, so when they disappeared from the shelves, I assumed the company had gone under or something.

Jim Leff said...

Nope, still going strong.

I'm a big fan of people with the clarity of purpose and focus to put their heart and soul into what they do without seeking attention for it. It's a very rare thing.

Unknown said...

Jim, is this info still valid? (I know you linked to this recently). I saw another blog reference that they (he?) don't take check any more.

Jim Leff said...

Then send cash!

The downside is you lose a few bucks. The upside is ecstasy.

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