Martin Yan (Chinese: , Zhen Wenda; 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.

Martin Yan
MartinYan 2004.12.jpg
December 2004
Born (1948-12-22) 22 December 1948 (age 70)
Guangzhou, China
EducationMunsang College
Overseas Institute of Cookery of Hong Kong
University of California, Davis
Culinary career
Cooking styleCantonese
Martin Yan
Traditional Chinese甄文達
Simplified Chinese甄文达

Early years and educationEdit

With ancestral roots in Taishan, Guangdong, China, Yan was born in Guangzhou, Guangdong, 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 about the traditional method of Chinese barbecue there. 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 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 appearancesEdit


  • 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


Martin Yan in 1994

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "TV Shows". Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ "Yan Can restaurants". Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  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. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
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External linksEdit