Chef Martin Yan is the celebrated host of thousands of cooking show episodes. He enjoys distinction as a certified Master Chef, a highly respected food consultant, a professional instructor, and the author of 26 cookbooks, including the award-winning Martin Yan’s Feast, Martin Yan’s Asian Favorites, Chinese Cooking for Dummies, Martin Yan’s Chinatown Cooking, and Martin Yan’s Quick & Easy. He is also the owner of San Francisco Westfield Mall’s popular hot spot MY China.
Macy’s at Union Square will host the award-winner this Saturday, Feb. 11, for a demo of his knife skills by de-boning a chicken in less than 18 seconds and then he’ll create a delicious dish.
The Daily Meal had the opportunity to speak with Yan about this coming event, what motivates him, and his love for Chinese food.
The Daily Meal: What did you want your attendees to gain out of the event?
Martin Yan: Preparing healthy, delicious meals at home can be fun and simple. Be creative and don't be afraid to try new ingredients and seasonings. We are so lucky to be living in a place with such an abundance and selection of fresh produce and ingredients at our fingertips. Go for it!
What keeps you cooking after all these years? What motivates you?
Passion is a part of it, but I believe what motivates me even more is my desire to share my passion and love for cooking and eating with others. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel around the world, to meet so many wonderful people and discover and taste amazing cuisines. It makes me happy to share all these experiences with my audience and viewers.
What is your proudest culinary moment to this day?
During my culinary career, I have had the honor and pleasure to work side by side with so many culinary luminaries like Julia Child, Graham Kerr, Jacques Pepin, Emeril, and what makes it even more special and fulfilling is when it's for a charitable cause.
Wit is your secret ingredient apparently. How do you incorporate that into your cooking?
When you love what you do, everything else falls into place. The audience becomes my cheerleader and motivates and excites me even more.
What is one important piece of advice you'd provide to other aspiring chefs out there?
Follow your instinct; see whether the culinary profession is your true path. It may look glamorous, but it's a tough, demanding business. There are a lot of challenges along the way, but there is also sense of satisfaction that makes it all worthwhile if you have the patience.
What is it about Chinese cuisine that makes it such a popular one in America?
With its various regional cuisines and flavors, Chinese cuisine has something to offer for everyone's taste — from spicy to mild, sweet to sour. There are few cuisines that can come close to Chinese in terms of variety of preparation and cooking techniques, ingredients, flavors, and textures.