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Yamashiro gets cookin’ on reality show ‘Kitchen Circus’

Redmond Ridge Anytime Fitness owner Myrissa Yamashiro will participate in “Kitchen Circus” at Rover’s in Seattle. - Courtesy photo
Redmond Ridge Anytime Fitness owner Myrissa Yamashiro will participate in “Kitchen Circus” at Rover’s in Seattle.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Up until about five years ago, cooking for Myrissa Yamashiro used to be just for the sake of eating.

But as she began trying various restaurants and eating good food, she asked herself, “Why not cook good, (food) too?”

Since then, the Sammamish resident and owner of Anytime Fitness on Redmond Ridge, began frequenting farmers markets, incorporating fresh ingredients into her everyday cooking and “plating” the meals she served her family. Yamashiro has also started a food blog (almostfittoeat.com), which includes recounts of her dining-out experiences, adventures in the kitchen and more.

Next week, Yamashiro’s cooking skills will be put to the test as she will participate in “Kitchen Circus,” a local reality show that will be filmed at Rover’s in Seattle’s Madison Valley neighborhood.

In the show, nine amateur home cooks will be preparing meals for 45 people.

While Yamashiro loves to entertain, she said she has never prepared anything for a crowd of this size.

The first round of competition has been set for three nights: one segment took place on Tuesday and the remaining two are Nov. 13 and 20. Three contestants will compete each night and be required to prepare — and plate — an amuse-bouche, a small complimentary appetizer (usually bite-size) sometimes offered at restaurants, and either an appetizer, entree or dessert.

Yamashiro will be preparing a dessert, but wouldn’t share any more details.

“I’ve got a pretty good dish,” she said confidently. “It’s a surprise.”

Diners, who will be attending the event after having purchased tickets, will vote on their favorite dish each night to advance to the final round in December.

In addition to her food blog, Yamashiro has posted a few food-related stories about being selected for “Kitchen Circus” on Echoed.com, a community where people can come to share their experiences through stories.

Brian Quinn, the website’s co-founder and chief operations officer, said people use the website to share stories “about everything from their travel adventures, to things they cook at home, to current events.”

“We also partner with media brands and retailers who leverage our technology to create stronger communities on their websites,” he said.

While Echoed is not working directly with “Kitchen Circus,” Quinn said several contestants are also members of the Echoed community.

“They’ve used our platform to tell a wide variety of stories about their life, but as it pertains to ‘Kitchen Circus’ and cooking, they have been sharing recipes, photos and advice on how they cook many of their favorite dishes,” he said.

Quinn added that because they have a large number of “foodies” on their site, Echoed has also worked to help promote the show’s contestants in advance of their upcoming show.

Yamashiro first learned about “Kitchen Circus” while surfing on the Internet in September. She said she applied for the show more for the cooking experience than any kind of fame.

“For me this was an opportunity to cook in a ‘real’ kitchen,” she said. “It was a dream.”

Yamashiro only had four days to send in her application and demo video, which was filmed with help from her husband and 13-year-old son in one take with no editing.

“I didn’t have a chance,” she said about the tight deadline.

Yamashiro doesn’t have a preference on the types of dishes she prepares at home, but said she cooks a lot of Italian because her husband likes pasta. She also prepares a lot of Asian dishes because that’s her family’s background — she is Filipino and her husband is Japanese. Other than that, Yamashiro is an equal-opportunity cook.

“I don’t discriminate in the kitchen,” she said.

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