Helen Tse's grandmother came to England from Hong Kong and opened one of the first Chinese restaurants in Manchester, in Middleton in the 1950s. Helen and her sisters grew up in a chip shop run by their parents. They later went into professions they would not have expected to land in, namely finance, engineering and law.
Inspired by their maternal heritage they then opened the Sweet Mandarin restaurant in the Northern Quarter in 2004. It has gone on to win national awards, as well as lending its name to a best selling book by Helen. Sweet Mandarin the book tells the ups and downs of the family history from China to Hong Kong to England, with more than their share of racism, gambling, triads and servitude along the way. I gleaned all of this from a talk Helen gave as part of the Manchester Histories Festival this week. Inspirational.