• My Restaurant Rules contestants Amy and James Bratton outside Moxie, their popular Birkenhead restaurant.
  • James and Amy Bratton in action on My Restaurant Rules television show.
  • Amy and James under the judging scrutiny.
  • My Restaurant Rules judges Colin Fassnidge and Judith Tabron at Moxie Resturant in Birkenhead.

A Chat with Amy Bratton

North Shore local and a contestant in 'My Restaurant Rules' on TVNZ 2

A North Shore husband and wife team are competing in a brand new TV show called My Restaurant Rules. James and Amy Bratton are the owners of popular local Birkenhead restaurant Moxie. The series is promoted as a local cooking competition like never before. Five teams from five real restaurants from across the country put their livelihoods at stake in a bid to find out whose Restaurant Rules. The show started on September 30th and is on Monday’s and Tuesday’s at 7.30pm on TVNZ 2 and available on TVNZ OnDemand from 8.30pm. Heading the judging table for the show are internationally renowned chefs and restaurateurs Colin Fassnidge (My Kitchen Rules) and Judith Tabron, tasting their way through the team’s culinary delights in the hopes of discovering New Zealand’s best hidden gem. Channel Magazine’s Aidan Bennett caught up with Amy Bratton during October to discover more about life as a TV celebrity.

AIDAN BENNETT: Amy, this sounds like a wonderful experience, how did you and James come to be contestants on the show?
We were contacted by the shows producers who told us we were nominated by our locals as favourite local bistro. It was such an honour really so we had to give it a go.

AIDAN: Tell us about the format of the show. How do you win the $100k prize?
Very similar format to MKR (My Kitchen Rules), where we all cook for each other and score each others meals out of 10 along with the judges. Highest scoring teams go through to the next round to cook again, but this time with local food critics or media people judging also. Then two highest scoring teams head into the final and cook for a full restaurant as well as the competing teams and judges table. Its intense! Especially since I’m no sous chef!

AIDAN: Who are the teams you are competing against?
A mixture of characters from all over the country. James and I are the only husband and wife unit from Auckland. There are work colleagues from Lyttleton, Italians from Nelson, Mother and Son from Waiouru and High School Sweethearts from Katikati. A diverse bunch that’s for sure.

AIDAN: Had you guys had any television experience prior to taking part in this?
Not at all. But the production crew were very friendly and made the whole experience a good one.

AIDAN: How would you describe the experience?
An emotional whirlwind.

AIDAN: Tell us all about Moxie. How did you guys get into the restaurant business and why has it become so popular?
James is passionate about his craft, he desperately wanted to do something on his own after being an executive chef for one of Auckland’s top catering companies. We initially thought about starting a food truck, but when we saw this opportunity pop up and we decided to go for it and jump in the deep end, not really knowing what we were getting ourselves into. We have survived three years on the Auckland food scene and we love the community vibe we have going with our locals. They love our food. Our menu is diverse and we change it up so there's always something new to experience.

AIDAN: Things must be hectic as the restaurant is open four nights a week, and you guys balance work and raising your two year old daughter Charlie?
We are open five days now but when Charlie came along we shut down a day, so James could spend more time with her. The juggle is a little hectic and she spends her time hanging out in the restaurant helping Dad. Quite handy on the old dustpan and shovel.

AIDAN: Are you going to win? When will we find out?
My lips are sealed! You will have to tune in!

Catch up on the full series of My Restaurant Rules at TVNZ OnDemand.

Moxie Restaurant, visit: www.moxierestaurant.co.nz