What Martin Yan From Yan Can Cook Is Doing Today

If you're a fan of Martin Yan from "Yan Can Cook," you've likely been wondering what he's been doing in the past few years. Without any new "Yan Can Cook" episodes on PBS for a while, you might have assumed he retired. Rest assured that he's not been slowing down in the least. Even though he's a multi-millionaire, Yan has kept extremely busy doing what he does best — talking about and cooking food while having fun doing it.

Without the television series running, you actually have even more chances to watch him cook in more intimate venues. You can find him giving cooking classes and demos around the world in a variety of settings, both virtually and in person. He's dabbled a lot in restaurant endeavors. Plus, he's been busy with new titles and awards as well. If you've missed Yan and his vibrant personality, you can easily find out what he's been doing by checking out his active online presence. We've found several interesting things he's been doing that you may want to check out.

You can take one of Martin Yan's virtual cooking classes

Martin Yan regularly offers free virtual cooking classes. You can watch from the comfort of your own home while he cooks live in the comfort of his own kitchen. If you're interested, follow his social media accounts for links to the next ones he offers. Each event is an hour long. To join, all you have to do is RSVP on Eventbrite. Once you get the link, you can join the class via Zoom. Participants get all the recipes for the cooking class they attended. Plus, they get a chance to win giveaway items like knives, cookbooks, and aprons.

All menu items are Asian-inspired. To give you an idea of what to expect, attendees of his April 4, 2024 cooking classes learned how to make American Ginseng Tea Eggs, Soymilk Custard With Fruit, and Winter Melon With Ham. Even holiday cooking classes are Asian-inspired, with menu items like Glutinous Rice Stuffing and Teriyaki Glazed Sweet Potatoes showing up in Thanksgiving classes.

It's possible to find Martin Yan doing live cooking demos

Chef Martin Yan travels around doing live cooking demos in a variety of venues. You're most likely to find him doing cooking demonstrations in California. However, you could luck out and even find him overseas.

In August 2023, Yan was at the Hannah Nicole Vineyards & Winery in Brentwood, California, for their Concert Series. While there, he gave cooking demonstrations, signed books, and provided photo opportunities for fans. In September 2023, you could have found him at the FoodieLand Night Market at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose, California. He was among the many foodies providing demonstrations and food at this multicultural food festival. In September 2023, he even did a cooking demonstration at his alma mater, UC Davis, where he earned a master's degree in food science. His cooking demonstration at the university was at the library. When he gets a chance, he does demonstrations outside the U.S., too. In October 2023, he did cooking demonstrations at SXSW Sydney, a convention for all sorts of creators of everything from fashion to robots.

He received a James Beard Lifetime Achievement award

In 2022, Martin Yan received the coveted James Beard Lifetime Achievement award, joining the ranks of culinary greats like Wolfgang Puck and Jacques Pépin. After a lifetime filled with serving and teaching the U.S. how to cook Chinese food recipes, he's well deserving.

Yan started teaching cooking classes at UC Davis and has occasionally taught at universities around the world since. His work as a public cooking figure started after someone asked him to do a cooking demonstration on camera at a TV station. It took just one cooking demonstration for the station to ask him to host a cooking show. Besides his fun-loving personality, one thing that stands out about Yan is his enthusiasm for every endeavor he has undertaken in the culinary world. Throughout his lifetime, he's written around 35 cookbooks, started around 12 restaurants, and been in 32 video series. "Yan Can Cook" and its various iterations had 3,500 episodes. Yan has received numerous awards over the years related to his cookbooks and television shows –- like his 1998 Daytime Emmy. Plus, he has won several professional awards.

In his acceptance speech, Yan mentioned how few Chinese restaurants there were when he moved to the U.S. versus now when there are over 50,000. Perhaps his presence on PBS, introducing the world to Chinese cuisine, helped make many of these restaurants possible.

He has a new Best of Yan Can Cook cookbook

Martin Yan has put out a variety of cookbooks over the years, and it doesn't look like he's planning to stop any time soon. His latest one is "Best of Yan Can Cook." Yan has published about 35 cookbooks since his early "Yan Can Cook" days. His cookbooks cover everything from quick and easy cooking to the food of Chinatown and feasts. He also has several that heavily feature wok cooking. He even put out a "Chinese Cooking for Dummies" cookbook in 2000.

The new cookbook, "Best of Yan Can Cook," came out in March 2024. It's the first one published since he won the James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022, so the cover proudly announces his new achievement. Even though he's done over 3,500 TV cooking episodes over the years, he still managed to find 10 of his favorite recipes to share in this cookbook along with all the other bests. So, expect to see him traveling around doing cookbook signings along with his cooking demonstrations in the future.

You can buy knives and knife sharpeners from him

If you watch Martin Yan's cooking demonstrations or TV shows, you'll often see him showing off his knife skills. One skill he's extra proud of is slicing peppers so thinly that you can read words through the slices. So, with that type of enthusiasm for knives, it's no wonder that he sells knives to his fans.

He told Today that a Chinese chef's knife is "the most essential and most frequently used kitchen tool in a Chinese kitchen or Asian kitchen." With so many fresh ingredients to cut for Chinese and Asian cuisine, it's no wonder. A Chinese chef's knife has a short and wide blade that makes it versatile for all sorts of cooking applications.

Martin Yan sells a variety of Chinese chef knives and knife sharpeners on his website. The cheapest knife he sells is $45.99, while the most expensive is $98.99. He also sells them in sets, and most come with finger guards and diamond steel knife sharpeners so you can keep making those paper-thin slices with a super-sharp knife. Sharpeners are also available separately. Oddly, there's no information about the type of steel the knives are made from or other information serious knife owners might want to know. One Reddit reviewer said they were cheap and terrible, while another said the trick to getting them to hold a good edge is to sharpen them weekly.

It's possible to participate in one of his formal dinners or fundraiser dinners

For a chance to experience Martin Yan's cooking first-hand, be sure to watch his social media pages for dinner events. Since he lives in the San Francisco Bay area of California, you'll find most of the events in that area. While most of them are fundraisers, some are not.

Yan has participated in a variety of fundraiser dinners for various causes. One was a $175 dinner in support of political candidate Nelson McElmurry to be part of the Board of Supervisors for Santa Clara County. Another was a dinner you could win for donating to a successful effort to restore Chinese lanterns on Grant Avenue in San Francisco's Chinatown. Yet another fundraiser he was a part of was the Chefs Gala in San Francisco with proceeds supporting people experiencing homelessness by helping them get back on their feet through working in the culinary industry.

An example of the types of meals Yan hosts that aren't fundraisers is the 8-course formal dinner he hosted at the Dragon Boat Festival at Empress M restaurant in Napa, California. It was $200 per person and included a food demo and a chance to get a photo with or autograph from him.

He has a new series: Martin Yan's MYChinatown

While there are no new "Yan Can Cook" shows airing currently, Martin Yan still can't seem to stop making shows. His latest one is "Martin Yan's MYChinatown." This one started being available on YouTube in 2022, so don't confuse it with "Martin Yan's Chinatown" from 2002.

The series is all about the 24 square blocks of San Francisco that comprise Chinatown. Even though Yan was born in Guangzhou, China, he now considers Chinatown his adopted "hometown." He begins the series by saying, "Whenever I have friends from out of town, I love to show up my Chinatown." He says it's "my Chinatown, your Chinatown, everybody's Chinatown" (via YouTube).

The episodes are short -– only between 3.5 and 8.75 minutes. So, you can watch the entire 20-episode series in less than two hours. He says that the first thing to do in Chinatown is eat. So, of course, the series mainly explores food in Chinatown. However, he also touches on other things, like getting a haircut, parades, and local performers.

You can participate in one of the giveaways he does

You don't have to attend one of Martin Yan's virtual cooking classes to be able to participate in one of his giveaways. If you keep a watch out on his social media accounts like Instagram and YouTube, you may find one that you can enter for a chance to win.

One that he offered in 2023 was in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The prizes were valued at nearly $300 and included his most recent cookbook, two $50 gift cards for different brands of food products, and several specific food products like Hot Pot Queen food items and a family fun pack of pizza cupcakes.

He also often has holiday giveaways. In his 2022 holiday giveaway, he gave away some of his Yan Can Cook branded safety finger guards to protect fingers while chopping ingredients. Other holiday giveaways have included some of his other products like his knives and cookbooks.

He may be reviving his San Francisco M.Y.China restaurant

Martin Yan once had a restaurant in San Francisco called M.Y.China, which was popular with its customers. Yan hopes to revive its success in a better location soon, so keep a watch out for it if you're in San Francisco. M.Y.China was open for 10 years before the COVID-19 pandemic closed it down in 2020. When it was open previously, customers liked the food and prices, as well as the service. However, Yan explained to SFGate why he decided to close it: "Being on the fourth floor [of a mall] makes it even more difficult. Nobody is going to go up there. Most takeout restaurants can only survive and do takeout on the ground level."

In August 2023, Yan announced he was looking for a new location to reopen M.Y.China in Chinatown. The plan was to open in early 2024, but there hasn't been any news about it since then. It should have all the old Chinese fusion favorites along with handmade noodles made onsite.

His M.Y.Asia restaurant in Las Vegas lasted just a few months

Martin Yan opened a new M.Y.Asia restaurant in the Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas on March 13, 2023. Unfortunately, it closed in mid-August, just five months later. M.Y.Asia not only had Chinese menu items, but featured a variety of Asian and Asian fusion dishes. Up to 150 guests at a time had a view straight back to the kitchen to watch the chefs cook and give fun noodle-making demonstrations. It had a rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars on Google before it closed. Customers said it had reasonable prices, a nice atmosphere, great service, and good food. Some of the most talked about dishes included orange chicken, Vietnamese spring rolls, Mongolian beef, and papaya salad.

Opening the restaurant itself was expensive since the space had previously been a Mexican restaurant, and the 5,300 square-foot area needed a complete makeover. Plus, since it didn't belong to Caesars Entertainment, Yan's restaurant was just a tenant trying to survive on thin operating margins and just didn't make it. It closed without warning, and people with reservations received a message inviting them to visit other Horseshoe Casino restaurants instead.

He was the honorary grand marshall of a Chinese New Year parade

On February 4, 2023, Martin Yan had the privilege of being the honorary grand marshal in San Francisco's Chinese New Year Parade. Among similar celebrations, it's the largest in the world and has been happening since 1958.

Instead of a crown or fancy top hat, Yan wore a chef's hat adorned with rabbit ears to celebrate it being the Year of the Rabbit. He rode on top of a convertible with Miss Chinatown USA, Crystal Lee, who wore a tiara to complement his bunny crown. It was a rainy, wet evening, but he seemed to have lots of fun. They both held a giant fortune cookie in their hand while greeting the crowds who had come to watch the parade.

The Chinese New Year is always a big deal for Yan. Just a few days earlier at the Hard Rock Café in Tampa, Florida, he helped celebrate the coming Lunar New Year with traditional drumming. So, he was pretty busy for the new year in 2023.

He helped create a special burger for the Hard Rock Café

In January 2023, Martin Yan announced that he had a burger available at the Hard Rock Café and Casino in Sacramento, California. It was part of the Hard Rock Café's local celebrity burger program.

The Martin Yan Celebrity Burger wasn't simply just inspired by Martin Yan. Instead, Yan helped create it with the restaurant's executive chef, Ray Leung. It was an Asian fusion burger that featured a variety of pleasing flavors. It started out simply enough with a hamburger patty on a brioche bun with a cheddar cheese slice, grilled shiitake mushrooms, and fried onions. The ingredient list started getting more interesting and skewing more Korean with pickled Daikon radish and kimchi. Yan also created a special aioli and Asian slaw to complete the burger. At the end of the year, the restaurant tallied the number of celebrity burgers sold to determine which celebrity burger was the most popular. Then, they donated funds to the winning celebrity's favorite charity.

He's become the Global Brand Ambassador of American Pistachio Growers

Martin Yan's adopted state of California grows many of the country's foods, including pistachios. You probably don't think of Chinese food when you think of pistachios, which is one reason the American Pistachio Growers organization wanted Yan to represent it. The idea was for him to become an ambassador in the traditional sense by introducing American-grown pistachios as a cultural exchange between the U.S. and Asia.

Yan said, "Singing the praise of American-grown pistachios comes to me naturally. Their rich taste, texture, nutritional value, and beautiful pistachio-green color make pistachios the perfect ingredient for any global cuisine, and certainly in my Asian dishes." (via PR Newswire).

Part of his ambassadorship involved creating pistachio-based recipes. Most recipes — like kung pao chicken with pistachios — are Chinese. However, he also created some German, French, and Indian ones, too. With Yan creating pistachio recipes for dishes that normally didn't feature pistachios, he has shown how versatile they can be.

You can join Martin Yan for travel tour events

If you're planning a travel tour, love food, and are a Martin Yan fan, you can combine your three interests. Keep a watch on Yan's social media accounts and website to see what travel tours he might have planned for the future.

An example of what you can expect is his Pasta-Ciao Mein Tuscany Tour in Italy. It cost nearly $4,000 and required a $500 deposit with an extra $600 fee for singletons. The amount includes seven nights of accommodations, daily breakfast, and six other meals. Plus, there are cooking classes with Yan, tours, wine tastings, olive oil tastings, and gifts. There are also possible pre- and post-tours for people who want to extend their stay beyond the seven days with Yan.

Some of the other travel tours on his agenda have included several in China and one on the Danube River in Europe. He even once auctioned off a personal walking tour of Chinatown in San Francisco to help support Northern California Public Media.

You can book him to speak at a special event

Martin Yan speaks at a variety of Bay Area events, but he travels to speak, too. As you can see, he's keeping pretty busy these days, but he might have time in his schedule to bring life and interest to your organization's special event.

The places that Yan speaks range from universities to private parties. He's available for gigs at festivals, corporate events, conventions, trade shows, fundraisers, and more. The fee to book him through organizations like Celebrity Talent International, Celebrity Chef Network, or AAE Speakers ranges from $10,000 to $30,000. So, he doesn't come cheap.

Yan is wildly entertaining, so no matter where he speaks, you know he's going to engage the crowd with his fun-loving personality. Beyond just fun, he has a lot of knowledge to impart from his educational background and years of cooking. And a speech from Yan wouldn't be complete without a cooking demonstration of some sort.