In­tent on serv­ing up a win


BIRD’S Nest co- owner Marie Yokoyama is brac­ing her­self to be re­al­ity TV’s new­est vil­lain af­ter vow­ing “not to make friends” on Hot Plate.

Yokoyama is de­ter­mined to win the $ 100,000 first prize on the Nine Net­work se­ries, which launches tonight, and says she’s not in­ter­ested in mak­ing friends.

“I fig­ured that out ( I would be the vil­lain) half way through the show be­cause the other con­tes­tants couldn’t un­der­stand I wouldn’t get in­volved be­cause I wanted to win,” Yokoyama said.

“Mak­ing friends with peo­ple, you get your emo­tions in­volved and when you have to try and judge their food it can be­come a bit tricky.

“I think I’ll come off cold in the be­gin­ning.”

Yokoyama and Emi Ka­mada run Bris­bane Ja­panese res­tau­rant Bird’s Nest – one of six es­tab­lished eater­ies com­pet­ing for the $ 100,000 cash prize.

There are two restau­rants lo­cated in both WA and NSW and one in Vic­to­ria. Each eatery is judged on its food, at­mos­phere and decor by food critic Tom Parker Bowles and ac­claimed chef Scott Pick­ett.

Also cast­ing votes are the five op­pos­ing teams at each sit­ting.

Yokoyama also kept a very big se­cret from the pro­duc­ers. She was preg­nant with her third child dur­ing the film­ing of the se­ries and only told the cast late in pro­duc­tion when it be­came bla­tantly ob­vi­ous to the wardrobe depart­ment.

“I kept it a se­cret for as long as I could,” she said.

Win­ning would al­low Yokoyama and Ka­mada, who have been pro­moted as the samu­rai girls, to es­tab­lish a sec­ond res­tau­rant.

Bird’s Nest is not your ev­ery­day Ja­panese res­tau­rant. It does not serve sushi or tem­pura and fo­cuses solely on a va­ri­ety of chicken dishes.

“We tried to go in de­ter­mined be­cause the rea­son we have gone on the show is to get our busi­ness name out there,” she said.

“We took a big risk ... and the first year was re­ally hard be­cause peo­ple would come in and say ‘ you’re only serv­ing chicken, where’s the sushi and the tem­pura?’.

Hot Plate is one of two new re­al­ity cook­ing shows which air on Tues­day, with the Seven Net­work launch­ing Res­tau­rant Revo­lu­tion. On the sur­face, Res­tau­rant Revo­lu­tion looks sim­i­lar to Seven’s for­mer cook­ing se­ries My Res­tau­rant Rules. Teams de­sign and run their own pop- up restau­rants and they will be judged each week by their cus­tomers, a group of ex­perts, in­clud­ing top chef Neil Perry, and on their profit mar­gin.

The best and most prof­itable res­tau­rant will win $ 200,000.

Hot Plate launches tonight, 7.30pm, on the Nine Net­work.

Pic­ture: JOSH WON­ING

EX­PAN­SION PLANS: Bird's Nest own­ers Emi Ka­mada and Marie Yokoyama.

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