Martin Yan on being a Lifelong Chef and impacting lives with healthy cooking
“Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.”
― Craig Claiborne
When he walked down from stage, everyone is pulling his shirt and try to snap a photo with him. They are smiling and always thumbs up as he did in most of his Ccoking programme and photos. His personality is always a drawcard everywhere he goes as he will never refuse to engage with his audiences even it’s for photo shot or a quick mention.
He is Martin Yan, a certified Master Chef, highly respected food consultant, and a prolific author. He captured the attention, admiration and hearts of millions of fans by spicing up his cooking repertoire and teaching with a personal ingredient – wit! He is the epitome of food and cooking as he believes it’s what that brings people together.
In regards to his journey as renown chef , he had been awarded with a lot of honour, but his passion on food and cooking goes beyond staying healthy , eating healthy : we are what we put into our body especially as we age. He is the Honorary Chairman of World Chinese Association of healthy eating, and the ambassador of American Retired Persons.
He strongly encourages the elderly by showcasing simple healthy meals and how eating healthy becomes a habit through videos, personal shows and foods consumption advice.
In Malaysia, we are spoilt for food choices. One can even say it’s a food heaven with lot of signature food such as Nasi Lemak, The Tarik, Bah Kut Teh, Roti Canai etc…… However, that shouldn’t be an excuse not have our favourites as the general perception that food that tastes good aren’t healthy. There are ways to have our local delights with a dash of healthy ingredients.
“Bah Kut Teh for an example, we can always choose lean meat to replace the fat one, or we can even change the meat to chicken rather than pork.”
With the current shifts in the traditional family structure where families are getting smaller, and as we also tend to live longer, it’s imperative that we adopt a healthy lifestyle to enjoy an enriched life.
“You may stay with not only your parent but grandparents as well, so you are not cooking for yourself but also for them. Your choices of food must allow everyone to enjoy their food but at the same time it’s healthy. ”
What Martin prescribes is to, cut down the usage of oil and salt. Less oil less salt is always good for health not only for the elderly but also the adults and kids.
“Malaysia is famous of their spices and sauce such as lemongrass, chili, belacan, curry etc…… In the making process of all these spices and sauce, despite using coconut cream, you can replace it with coconut milk or cream to cut down the fat.”
Salty foods taste good, but it could also lead us to high blood pressure, kidney stones, heart attack, stroke or even cancer. He suggest, we can cut down our usage of salt gradually or replace our regular salt to sea salt or rock salt.
“Regular salt that you buy in the supermarkets may have preservatives, sea salts dont; regular salt is salty however sea salt or rock salt actually are more flavourable and are equipped with vitamins thus making them a better option.
“I don’t think Malaysians eat enough leafy/green vegetables. I recommend that Malaysians should look into eating more greens, such as Chinese broccoli, choy sum and cabbage. Besides, naturally fermented foods such as yoghurt without sugar, kimchi, pickle and vinegar, these types of foods will turn into alkaline in your body, helps you to stay away from having too much acid and can help reduce the possibility of developing cancer. . ”
About Retirement & being lifelong Chef
The way Martin imprints on his audiences is that when he is on stage, it’s just not a show for him. . He takes everyone who turns up for his as his friends. He doesn’t follow a script but speaks from his heart which is a genuine trait that he has. . It’s all fun and love for him to be able to share with the audiences and through cooking, he also imparts happiness.
He did reminisce on his early years and tells us why he was addicted food and what brought him to his first look of cooking. He was born in Guang Zhou, to a restaurateur father and a grocer mother. During the time of his birth, times were really bad in China, food was scarce, and they never have enough to eat and most of the time they have no meat to eat at all.
“I grew up hungry all the time and told myself that if I had an opportunity to study, I will study about foods and agricultures to make sure my stomach always full.
“Food bring happiness and fulfillment. When you love food, you love life, and your life will become happy when you love it.”
Martin Yan probably the busiest chef in the world, because people need happiness to cheer up their day. His humor, unscripted instant reaction and of course the knowledge and skills in cooking, has taken him travelling across the US to other beautiful countries around the world.
“If you are doing things that you don’t like, just move on and don’t do it, or it will make yourself miserable. Cooking and foods are things I like to do and I will continue to do, so retirement is not for me I guess. ” He says with confidence and vigor at the age of 68.