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Helen Tse MBE

Author, lawyer, restaurateur and violinist, Helen Tse MBE is presented with an honorary doctorate degree from Staffordshire University in recognition of her contribution to literature.

After studying law at Cambridge University, Helen worked as a finance and tax lawyer for Clifford Chance in London and Hong Kong. Since then, she has worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers and won the Young Accountant of the Year Award in 2006 for her work on helping companies invest in China.

Despite her success, Helen, along with sisters Lisa and Janet, had a dream to return to their culinary roots and in 2004, they opened the award winning Sweet Mandarin restaurant in Manchester, where they still serve their grandmother, Lily Kwok’s chicken curry.

It was during her time at university, that a passion for writing blossomed and led to her writing the true account of her family’s history.

Sweet Mandarin named after their Manchester restaurant, tells the story of a family that has been rocked by both international, social and political upheaval. Spanning a hundred years, the book talks about murder, adoption, Triad associations, gambling addictions, alcoholism, bankruptcy and the isolation of being an immigrant family.

Published in 33 countries as of 2007, Sweet Mandarin has gained global acclaim. According to chef Ken Hom it is “a gripping tale of struggle, laughter, love and food,” while best-selling author of the Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan said “Sweet Mandarin is a banquet of family stories; a memoir of survival and victories, luck and determination.”

Helen delighted visitors to an International Women’s Day event at Staffordshire University with an account of her life and career.

In 2014, Helen was awarded an MBE for her services to the Food and Drink sector.

Photo of Helen Tse MBE

Helen Tse MBE was bestowed the award in 2008

It is a real honour and privilege to receive this honorary degree from Staffordshire University. It will be wonderful to meet with staff and students to discuss Sweet Mandarin and I wish you all the best.

Helen Tse MBE