‘If Yan can cook, so can you!’: TV chef icon Martin Yan awarded James Beard Lifetime Achievement honor

Martin Yan FI
  • TV chef personality Martin Yan was announced yesterday as this year’s James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
  • Yan is the second Asian American to win the award, after Chinese American restaurateur and chef Cecilia Chiang, who won in 2013.
  • In 1982 at the age of 33, a young Yan was given the opportunity to have his own cooking show, titled “Yan Can Cook.” Since then, he went on to dedicate 43 years to sharing Asian American cuisine and culture to a global audience.
  • Under PBS, Yan has filmed over 2,000 TV episodes and published nearly 30 cookbooks.
  • Yan was previously awarded six other James Beard awards, predominantly for his work in television cooking.

Chinese American culinary legend Martin Yan has been given the 2022 James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award for his 43 years in the industry.

Prestigious culinary arts organization the James Beard Foundation announced yesterday  TV chef icon Martin Yan, 73, as the recipient of their 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award. The honor is reserved for people working in the food 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.”

Previous winners of the award include notable chefs Jessica B. Harris, Paula Wolfert and Wolfgang Puck. Yan is the second Asian American to win the award, after Chinese American restaurateur and chef Cecilia Chiang won in 2013.

Born in Guangzhou, China, Yan moved to the States to pursue a graduate degree in food science. During his studies, he also taught Chinese cooking classes at the university. His “characteristic warmth, humor and vitality” landed him an opportunity to star in his own TV show, “Yan Can Cook,” in 1982 at the age of 33. Since then, he went on to dedicate 43 years to sharing Asian American cuisine and culture. His signature catchphrase, “If Yan can cook, so can you!” has won him a global following. 

Under PBS, Yan has filmed over 2,000 TV episodes and published nearly 30 cookbooks.

In addition to winning the Lifetime Achievement Award, Yan has also been nominated and awarded for six other James Beard titles for his work in television cooking.

Featured Image via Yan Can Cook | Chef Martin Yan (left), KQED (right)

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