Martin Yan cooks up fun at NEX
August 14, 2008
<p>PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - More than 100 aspiring chefs crowded around a long table filled with delicacies at the Navy Exchange Hawaii (NEX) here, Aug. 3, to learn from a master.</p><p>Certified Master Chef Martin Yan provided an educational and jocular demonstration, cooking with his ever-popular ingredient - wit. Yan joked with the crowd as he prepared fried rice, grilled beef and spicy chicken. Participates laughed, took notes and watched as an amazing feast was prepared before their eyes.</p><p>The celebrated host of the award-winning national cooking show "Yan Can Cook" is also known as a highly respected food consultant, a cooking instructor, and a prolific author of more than 20 cookbooks. Yan also founded the Yan Can International Cooking School in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has opened a slew of Yan Can restaurants around the U.S.</p><p>"I grew up watching (Yan's) cooking show with my mother," said Spc. John Perez, 205th Military Intelligence Battalion. "Being here is just like watching him on TV. He has an entertaining humor about him."</p><p>Born in Guangzhou, China, to a restaurateur father and a mother who operated a grocery store, Yan developed a passion for cooking at an early age. His formal induction into the culinary world began at 13 with an apprenticeship at a popular Hong Kong restaurant. He refined his natural talent at the Overseas Institute of Cookery in Hong Kong and then pursued a Masters of Science degree in Food Science at the University of California at Davis.</p><p>Yan used his highly skilled talents in the hourlong cooking demonstration as members of the military ohana watched in awe.</p><p>As the demonstration ended, participants waited patiently, cookbooks in hand, for a chance to meet Yan. He spoke briefly with fans and autographed cookbooks, writing a unique and personal message to each person. Camera flashes lit up the room as military members posed for pictures with the famous chef.
"I travel all over the world and educate many types of people," said Yan. "(The) military is no different, they are ordinary people ... (although) the sacrifices they make are anything but ordinary."</p><p>"This is a hectic time and working with them makes me feel good," continued Yan. "Sometimes we all need to slow down and laugh a little."
Yan currently resides with his wife and children in Hillsborough, Calif., where he grows his own vegetables and herbs in his backyard.</p><p>The Sanyo Fisher Company sponsored the Yan Can Cook event.</p>