Legendary chef Martin Yan, 73, gets lifetime achievement award for making lasting culinary impact

Yan can cook. Yan can also get lifetime achievement award.

Belmont Lay | March 21, 2022, 04:45 AM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/mothershipsg

Martin Yan, 73, the Chinese American chef and legendary television personality, has been bestowed the 2022 James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award for his 43 years in the industry.

The James Beard Foundation, a prestigious culinary arts organisation in the United States, announced the recipient of their 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award on March 16.

The foundation described Yan as a "cooking show host, cookbook author, and master chef".

The honour of the lifetime achievement award is reserved for those "in the industry whose lifetime body of work has had a positive and long-lasting impact on the way we eat, cook, and think about food in America", the foundation said.

Previous winners of the award include Jessica B. Harris and Wolfgang Puck.

Yan is the only second Asian American to win the award, after Chinese American restaurateur and chef Cecilia Chiang, who won it in 2013.


Yan started cooking on television in 1978.

He then developed his signature show, Yan Can Cook, which he landed in 1982 at age 33.

It has been broadcast to more than 50 countries, earning him a legion of fans.

He went on to appear in 3,500 episodes and 30 cookbooks.

His signature motto, “If Yan Can Cook, So Can You!”, was about making Chinese cooking accessible to Americans.

Yan’s lighthearted comedic public persona belies his serious lifelong mission to promote and teach Asian cuisine.

A certified master chef, Yan oversaw several restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, including M.Y. China and Yan Can Bistro, and ran cooking schools in San Francisco and in Shenzhen, China, both now closed.

Born in Guangzhou, China, Yan moved to U.S. to pursue a graduate degree in food science.

He taught Chinese cooking classes at the university while undergoing his studies.

Top photos via pannoni 8 YouTube & Hiroyuki Terada - Diaries of a Master Sushi Chef YouTube

Follow and listen to our podcast here