On Freddie Fried Rice, Spiced Pork Ribs, And Lamb Samosas At Campagnolo


by Ken Tsui | Recently, Campagnolo chef Nathan Lowey decided to serve BBQ spiced pork ribs for staff meal. It’s a menu item often found Upstairs. But first, he has to butcher the ribs. An entire pig is delivered to the restaurant each week, so this is nothing new. He finds a cleaver that looks like something out of Mortal Kombat. “They usually use this to break open skulls,” he says with a laugh as he lifts it.

Meanwhile, chefs Michael “Freddy” Wu and Jesse McMillan are in the kitchen doing their own prep. Wu is working on his signature Freddy Fried Rice while McMillan is making a salad. Freddy Fried Rice is a staff meal favourite; a mainstay dish that found its name one night when someone accidentally started calling Michael “Freddy”. The name caught on (along with his fried rice) and the rest was history. “It could have been worse,” Michael says as he stirs the pot of rice, “Chef (Robert Belcham) kept calling someone ‘Cream Cheese’ one night…”

As Michael works on his rice, Lowey drops the freshly butchered pork ribs into the fryer and then tosses them in Campagnolo’s special blend of barbecue spices. As the meal comes together, McMillan tops his salad with crispy chicken skin and Wu finishes his contribution to the staff meal by frying up a few eggs. “This is how my mom does it,” he says spooning the crispy eggs over top his fried rice. The restaurant’s resident pasta maker, Zakkia, also added to the meal with batch lamb samosas made with black sesame dough.

The crew gathers around the table as the chefs walk in with their contributions. McMillan lays out chopsticks and plates. As everyone is taking a seat, chef and owner Robert Belcham walks in and exclaims, “This is all you’re making tonight?!” And then, with a chuckle, they dig in, family-style.

  • Matt preps his mise
    Matt preps his mise
  • Breaking down pork ribs
    Breaking down pork ribs
  • Nathan finishes butchering pork ribs
    Nathan finishes butchering pork ribs
  • Samosas
  • Samosas in the fryer
    Samosas in the fryer
  • Nathan spices the ribs
    Nathan spices the ribs
  • Adding soy to the fried rice
    Adding soy to the fried rice
  • Jesse adds finishing touches on his dish
    Jesse adds finishing touches on his dish
  • Frying up the ribs
    Frying up the ribs
  • Adding carrot to the rice
    Adding carrot to the rice
  • Fried rice
    Fried rice
  • Fried eggs are a finishing touch
    Fried eggs are a finishing touch
  • BBQ spiced ribs are served
    BBQ spiced ribs are served
  • Setting the table
    Setting the table
  • Staff meal is served
    Staff meal is served
  • Freddy's fried rice
    Freddy's fried rice
  • Freddy fries some eggs
    Freddy fries some eggs
  • Cracking a joke
    Cracking a joke
  • Pork Ribs
    Pork Ribs
  • Campagnolo team digs in
    Campagnolo team digs in


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