It’s been a big year for Filipino-British restaurateur Lee Johnson and his business partner, Sinead Campbell. In the past 12 months, they’ve turned their BBQ Dreamz food truck into a brick-and-mortar restaurant – Bong Bong’s Manila Kanteen in London’s Bethnal Green is their dream come true.
The couple met at the Camberwell School of Art, where Johnson was studying photography and Campbell was pursuing print design. With a deep, shared love for food, hospitality and entertaining guests, the two quit their jobs in 2014 and borrowed money from friends and family to start a food truck business.
They opened the first BBQ Dreamz stall at Hoxton Street Market, serving hearty, fire-grilled street food dishes inspired by Johnson’s Filipino heritage. They also prepared Filipino classics such as lechon kawali, pork belly which they had marinated for at least 24 hours before deep-frying.
Johnson was born in Metro Manila’s Quezon City to an English father and a Filipino mother hailing from a small town in the province of Iloilo.