Development & Alumni Relations Office 

GRADUATE SUZIE LEE'S HOME COOK HEROES  Kitchen utensils and (inset) Suzie Lee cooking

06 August 2020

Suzie Lee Arbuthnot, the Queen’s graduate who earlier this year won Best Home Cook – the BBC’s national cookery competition – is set to help local families to cook up a treat with her new BBC One Northern Ireland show, Suzie Lee’s Home Cook Heroes, which starts this evening (06 August).

Each of the programmes will involve a different local Northern Ireland family of novice cooks who will take on the challenge of creating their version of one of Suzie’s recipes.

Taking one key ingredient (a whole chicken, rump steak and eggs), in each of the three episodes, Suzie will create tasty meals from scratch using the very best of whatever ingredients the featured family has in their cupboard and fridge.

Speaking on the BBC’s website, the mother of Zander (5) and Odelia (2) said: “I’m on a mission to get people back into their kitchens. You can be your own hero, in your own kitchen, own it.

“Cooking from scratch is nothing to be scared of and anyone can be a home cook hero.”

In February Suzie, a County Antrim Chartered Accountant who graduated with a BSc in Economics and Management from Queen’s in 2006, baked, sautéed and roasted her way to victory in the BBC’s Best Home Cook. Though the coronavirus put paid to any hopes she might have had for national breakfast sofa interviews or cookery book deals, Suzie returns to TV with her own cooking series.

Detailing a range of simple techniques, short cuts and money saving tips, she will take viewers through a range of family friendly dishes based on a range of readily available ingredients. Recipes include Chinese family favourites – one in each episode – from her childhood including Beef Ho Fan, Sweet and Sour Chicken Cantonese style and Egg Fried Rice as well as popular local dishes like roasts.

And for those with a sweet tooth, each programme will include an indulgent dessert, offering even the most uncertain home cooks the chance to develop their baking skills, from hand making pastries to delivering heavenly sticky toffee pudding, which features in the first episode.

Speaking to Belfast Live’s Peter McGoran this week, Suzie said: “I really wanted to get across that feeling home cooking, family cooking, getting back into the kitchen and not being scared to raid your cupboards and try something you’ve been afraid to try for a long time.   

“I love cooking and making food with my family, I always have. I just want to show people that it's not that scary to get the family involved in food. So I've tried to make these recipes as full proof and tasty as possible."

Suzie’s parents – dad Peter and her late mother Celia – moved to Northern Ireland from Hong Kong in the 1980s and set up a Chinese takeaway in Lisburn where Suzie helped out when she was a teenager.

During her time at University, Suzie founded the Queen's University Economics and Management Society and served as President of Queen's Ladies Hockey Club. After graduating, she began her training with BDO in Belfast, working for a number of different companies and organisations for eight years – including ArjoHuntleigh and PGR Chartered Accountants – before going self-employed in February 2019.

Suzie now runs her own business – SA Accountancy Services – from home, plays hockey for Lisnagarvey, sings with Lisburn Harmony Ladies Choir and exercises in her spare time, all to make sure she packs as much as possible into every day.

Since 2017 she has been treasurer in the Wave Trauma Centre, having previously held the same role at the Northern Ireland Children's Enterprise (NICE) for almost 17 years.

Suzie puts her love of cooking down to her mother who passed away 20 years ago, and sees this latest TV show as a tribute to her.

The new series has been made by local TV production company Waddell Media for BBC Northern Ireland, who commissioned a range of new television programmes in a bid to support the local arts sector during the coronavirus pandemic. Filming took place in June in a show house in Cultra, County Down under current Covid-19 restrictions, with the participating families shooting their own footage.

Tonight’s episode of Suzie Lee’s Home Cook Heroes focuses on beef, with Suzie creating fiery enchiladas and juicy BBQ burgers.

Suzie Lee's Home Cook Heroes starts on Thursday, August 6, on BBC One Northern Ireland at 7.30pm and will be available on iPlayer in due course. For recipes and further information, visit And you can follow Suzie on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, or find out more on her website.

For enquiries about this story or to submit your graduate news item, please contact Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO), Queen’s University Belfast, on telephone: +44 (0)28 9097 5321.

Photo credits: main collage by simisi1 from Pixabay; inset: BBC Media Centre; headline: Suzie Lee


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