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Chef Kuniko Yagi founded Pikunico (whose name is a playful combination of “picnic” and “Kuniko”) in 2019. The fast-casual concept restaurant offers housemade “karaage” (Japanese-style fried chicken) served in a sandwich, basket, or rice bowl, along with market-driven salads, sides, and desserts, all of which were meticulously created as nostalgic embodiments of her childhood memories of fun and guilt-free comfort food. Kuniko appeared as a contestant on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef,” was named StarChef.com’s Rising Star in 2010, and has earned a number of critical accolades for her work with Hinoki & the Bird, including best new restaurant nods from Esquire, Bon Appetit, Los Angeles Magazine, Los Angeles Times, EaterLA and more. When not at the stove, Kuniko spends her time surfing, knitting and walking her German Shepherd, Hinoki, in Venice Beach.