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Martin Yan (甄文達; born 22 December 1948) is a Chinese-American chef and food writer. He has hosted his award-winning PBS-TV cooking show Yan Can Cook since 1982.

Early years and education[]

With ancestral roots in Taishan, Yan was born in Guangzhou, Republic of China, to a restaurateur father and a grocer mother. Yan began to cook at the age of 12. He moved to Hong Kong when he was 13, and later attended the Munsang College in Kowloon City. During this time in Munsang College, he worked at his uncle's Chinese restaurant and learned the traditional method of Chinese barbecue. He received a diploma from the Overseas Institute of Cookery of Hong Kong and later left for Canada for continued study. Ten years after his arrival in North America, Yan received a Master of Science degree in food science from University of California, Davis, in 1975.


Yan began teaching Chinese cooking for a college extension program and appearing on a Canadian talk show from Calgary in 1978 (on CFAC-TV, now CICT-DT). He has hosted over 1,500 episodes of the PBS cooking show Yan Can Cook since 1982. His shows have been broadcast in over 50 countries.[1] He currently hosts Martin Yan – Quick & Easy. He also hosts Martin Yan's Chinatowns, where he tours Chinatowns around the globe as well as "Martin Yan's Hidden China."

Yan has opened a chain of Yan Can Restaurants and founded the Yan Can International Cooking School in San Francisco.[2] He has written over two dozen cookbooks.[1] The American Culinary Federation has designated him a Master Chef.[3]

Yan is one of the lead actors of the Singapore/Hong Kong film Rice Rhapsody (海南雞飯, 2005).

In 2007 he supported and endorsed the establishment of the World Association of Master Chefs.

He has appeared as a guest judge on several episodes of Iron Chef America and appeared on the cartoon talk show Space Ghost Coast to Coast. He also appeared as a guest judge on the Season 10 finale of Top Chef as well as a Season 11 episode of Hell's Kitchen.

He is not related to Chinese Canadian chef Stephen Yan of the CBC Television series Wok with Yan, though Martin was an employee and had worked for Stephen Yan in the 1980s as demonstrator for Stephen's products.

Television appearances[]

  • Yan Can Cook (1982— ) – Host[4]
  • Christine Cushing Live – Guest[5][6]
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast (1996) – Guest
  • Martin Yan's Hong Kong (2005–2007) – Host
  • Martin Yan – Quick & Easy – Host
  • Martin Yan's Chinatowns – Host
  • Martin Yan's China (2008) – host
  • Iron Chef America (2011) – Judge
  • Food Court (2011) Hong Kong Cable TV – Tutor / Host
  • Iron Chef Vietnam (2012) – Guest Judge
  • Top Chef (2013) – Guest Judge
  • Hell's Kitchen (2013) – Guest Judge
  • Martin Yan: Taste of Vietnam (2013) – Host[7][8]
  • Back to Basics (2013) – Host
  • Martin Yan: Taste of Malaysia (2015) – Host
  • Rick Stein's Road to Mexico - Episode 1' ' (2017) - Guest
  • Martin Yan's Asian Favorites (2018— ) - Host


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  • Chinese Recipes (1978)
  • The Joy of Wokking (1978)
  • The Yan Can Cook Book (1981, reprinted 1983)
  • Everybody's Wokking
  • The Well-Seasoned Wok
  • Martin Yan's Feast: The Best of Yan Can Cook
  • Chinese Cooking for Dummies
  • Martin Yan's Asian Favorites
  • Martin Yan's Quick and Easy
  • Martin Yan's Chinatowns
  • Martin Yan's Culinary Journey Through China
  • Martin Yan's Asia
  • Martin Yan’s China
  • Martin Yan's Entertainment At-Home
  • Martin Yan the Chinese Chef
  • Martin Yan's Invitation to Chinese Cooking
  • Martin Yan's Feast
  • A Wok for All Seasons, 1988


File:Loz martin yan 1994.jpg

Martin Yan in 1994

  • An honorary Doctorate of Culinary Arts by Johnson & Wales University
  • A Daytime Emmy Award in 1998 for best cooking show
  • A 1996 James Beard Award for Best TV Food Journalism
  • A 1994 James Beard Award for Best TV Cooking Show
  • The Antonin Careme Award by the Chef's Association of the Pacific Coast
  • The Courvoisier Leadership Award by Courvoisier
  • 2008 Picnic Day (UC Davis) parade marshal

See also[]

  • Chinese American cuisine
  • Cantonese cuisine
  • Food science


External links[]

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