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Master chef's mission to promote Chinese cuisine

A celebrated host of over 3,000 cooking shows broadcast worldwide, Martin Yan enjoys the distinction as a certified Master Chef, a highly respected food consultant, a cooking instructor and a prolific author. Photo:

Martin Yan, the world famous Chinese chef, is the first man who successfully made Chinese cooking popular on American TV. His award-winning cooking show Yan Can Cook is broadcast in 75 countries and regions. We interviewed him in his San Francisco office on October 16, where he talked about his endeavor to promote the positive image of Chinese Americans and the China-US friendship through his cooking career.

Known as the American chef and host, Martin is also an author with 26 books under his name. After his 32-year TV career, he’s branching out. He was excited to tell us that he is planning to open the world’s first Confucius Institute that focuses on Chinese food. Confucius Institute’s purpose, he said, is to bring not only the Chinese language to the world, but also the Chinese culture. As a very important part of the Chinese culture, food culture, which is mentioned many times in Confucian Analects, should be taken seriously.

A graduate from the University of California Davis with a Master’s degree in Food Science, he is no stranger to the academic world. He has previously been involved with an academic exchange program between his alma mater and Jiangnan University on food processing. Also he has opened culinary schools in China as well as in the US. He said he wants to support whoever can help the Chinese and Chinese Americans to prosper. That is why he has worked so tirelessly to open this special Confucius Institute.

As a successful businessman, Martin is profit-driven, but in a unique way. His has the same commitment as in business to do anything that helps the Chinese people and the Chinese Americans. When asked about who he supports in the coming election, he said that despite the Republican Party’s favorable tax policies, he is still going to support Obama because the Democratic Party has more beneficial policies for new immigrants. Just think about how many jobs these 50,000 Chinese restaurants are able to offer, he pointed out.

Martin loves food. To him, food is a truly borderless and egalitarian platform that could bring people together. Through cooking, Martin has been promoting the best of China for over three decades. He hopes with what he does, he could help Chinese people and American people to understand each other better. Understanding fosters friendship. China and the US, one a rising giant and the other a superpower, can only be friends. In his quiet way, he has been contributing to the Sino-US friendship and will continue to do so.

Traditionally, many Chinese people’s American dream is simply to have a house, a car and to be able to give their children good education. Yet even though he has attained huge success in his business, Martin still lives in an ordinary house and drives an ordinary car. He said his American dream is only half-realized. He is still highly motivated to improve his cooking and to make his restaurants healthier, so that his ongoing efforts to promote the best of the Chinese food culture to America and the world will be more fruitful.

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Rhythm Media Group is a multi-media company, operating a US-based Chinese daily newspaper, The China Press, and the paper's website - (which has mobile-app version), as well as a Beijing-based English website The group boasts 15 branch offices across the US, and a number of cultural centers focusing on culture-related business in the North America, Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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