Martin Yan

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Martin Yan
Yan in December 2004
Born (1948-12-22) 22 December 1948 (age 74)
EducationMunsang College
Overseas Institute of Cookery of Hong Kong
University of California, Davis
Culinary career
Cooking styleCantonese
Current restaurant(s)
  • (closed: M.Y. Asia (Las Vegas))
    (closed: M.Y. China (San Francisco))
    (closed: Yan Can (Santa Clara))
    (closed: M.Y. China (Rohnert Park))
Television show(s)
  • Yan Can Cook
    Martin Yan – Quick & Easy
    Martin Yan's Chinatowns
    Martin Yan's Hong Kong
    "Martin Yan's Asian Favourites
Martin Yan
Traditional Chinese甄文達
Simplified Chinese甄文达

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

Early years and education[edit]

With ancestral roots in Hoiping, Yan was born in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China to a restaurateur father and a grocer mother. Yan began to cook at the age of 12. When he was 13, he moved to Hong Kong, where he 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 3,500 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[edit]

  • 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
  • Yan Can Cook: Spice Kingdom- 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


  • 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 Chinatown Cooking: 200 Traditional Recipes From 11 Chinatowns Around the World[9]
  • 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


Restaurants owned by Martin Yan
name location years open notes reference
M.Y. Asia Horseshoe Las Vegas March 2023– August 2023 [10]
M.Y. China Westfield San Francisco Centre mall 2012–2020 [11]
M.Y. China Graton Resort and Casino
Rohnert Park, California
2013–2015 [12]
Yan Can Santa Clara, California


Martin Yan in 1994

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "TV Shows". Archived from the original on 11 May 2008.
  2. ^ "Yan Can restaurants".
  3. ^ "Martin Yan". PBS Food. Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  4. ^ Moller, Daragh (1 January 2006). "No Doubt about It Yan Can Cook in Beijing". Beijing This Month. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008.
  5. ^ "Food Network Canada | Best Easy Recipes & Cooking Tips".
  6. ^ "Food Network Canada | Best Easy Recipes & Cooking Tips".
  7. ^ "Cùng Martin Yan khám phá Việt Nam". 13 May 2012.
  8. ^ "Martin Yan Returns to Public Television with Taste of Vietnam, Premiering This Fall : KQED's Pressroom". Archived from the original on 27 June 2014.
  9. ^ Martin Yan's Chinatown cooking: 200 traditional recipes from 11 chinatowns around the world. William Morrow. 2002. ISBN 9780060084752.
  10. ^ Stapleton, Susan (14 February 2022). "PBS Cooking Show Star Martin Yan Brings the Flavors of Asia to the Las Vegas Strip in 2022". Eater Las Vegas. Vox Media LLC. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  11. ^ Guerrero, Susana (23 November 2020). "M.Y. China, co-owned by celebrity chef Martin Yan, permanently closes". SFGATE. Hearst Newspapers. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  12. ^ Pape, Allie (6 November 2013). "Graton Casino Opens, with Keane, Gemignani, Yan in Tow". Eater San Francisco. Vox Media LLC. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  13. ^ Wells, Madeline (16 March 2022). "Famed Bay Area chef and TV personality Martin Yan wins 2022 James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award". Retrieved 11 April 2022.

External links[edit]