Galway chef’s recipe for success

Galway's Sinead Campbell and her partner Lee Johnson, whose London food business has received a £350,000 investment.

A London-based chef from Tuam has been awarded a whopping €395,000 to develop her street food business, alongside her partner.

It is literally a dream come true for Sinead Campbell and her partner Lee Johnson who established their pop-up food business called BBQ Dreamz four years ago.

The couple appeared on the British reality TV show ‘My Million Pound Menu’ – the equivalent of Dragon’s Den for food – and received an investment of £350,000 in their business much to their delight.

Sinead (36), who is the daughter of Dolly and the late Michael Campbell from Tuam, moved to London around twelve years ago to do her Masters Degree in Art.

She completed her Masters and went on to do an internship in the world-famous Christie’s Art Gallery before leaving that particular profession to embark on two years involved in victim support in London.

Her intention was to return to the art world in a teaching capacity – but her partner, who had worked in a number of the top restaurants, decided to diverge into street food through a series of pop-up restaurants in various parts of London.

Sinead attended Presentation College in Tuam before completing her Degree in Art (1st Class Honours) while studying in Limerick – before ending up in a whole different world.

“I suppose, when we look back, she always had an interest in cooking,” recalls proud mum Dolly who believes she inherited this trait from her late father, a former bank manager in Tuam who was also passionate about cooking.

Dolly added: “This is all great news and hopefully it is the start of a very bright future in this very competitive industry, Both Sinead and Lee are extremely hard workers and their sheer dedication has paid off.”

Both Sinead and Lee appeared on the BBC’s My Million Pound Menu, the reality show which seeks out up-and-coming food businesses and gives them the chance to secure hundreds of thousands of pounds of investment.

Last week, London-based street food trader BBQ Dreamz, which is operated by Sinead and Lee and specialises in Filipino food, triumphed and beat off stiff competition in the process.

BBQ Dreamz went on to secure a £350,000 investment (just over €395,000) from Charlie McVeigh of the Draft House pub group that he sold last year.

BBQ Dreamz is a concept inspired by the Filipino recipes Lee – born in the Philippines and raised in Northampton – learnt from his grandmother while growing up in that country, which in turn inspired a passion for the nation’s cuisine in Sinead.

The pair started BBQ Dreamz in 2014, aiming to bring Filipino food to a wider audience in London, adapting classic dishes to the lunchtime tastes of Londoners.

As with most street food stalls, customers can expect the menu to alternate a bit but among their signature dishes are grilled satay duck hearts, sticky adobo chicken wings and Lechon Kawali – 24-hour sous-vide crispy pork belly with radish, celery and coriander salad.