Sweet Mandarin sisters awarded MBE as licensing plans hot up

The sisters behind the Sweet Mandarin Chinese restaurant in Manchester have enjoyed a strong start to 2014, being awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List, while the licensing programme has also been given a boost.

Helen, Lisa and Janet Tse opened Sweet Mandarin – which is in Manchester’s Northern Quarter – in 2004. Their grandmother Lily opened one of the first Chinese restaurants in the UK back in the 1950s.

It has been a busy decade, which has seen the Sweet Mandarin brand go from strength to strength.

In 2009, Sweet Mandarin was voted Gordon Ramsay’s Best Chinese Restaurant in the UK. In 2012, Helen and Lisa appeared on Dragons’ Den, winning investment from two of the Dragons for their range of gluten free sauces. The line is now available in retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Ocado, Wing Yip and Selfridges, while it is also exported to China and Russia.

This month sees the launch of the Sweet Mandarin cookbook, which will be promoted as Waitrose’s Book of the Month. It will also roll out in the US in May.

Spring will also see Sparks launching its licensed range of cookware and clay bakeware, while additional licences are due to launch in the near future including drinks, ready meals and sauces.

Licensing Management International is handling the Sweet Mandarin licensing programme.

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