Martin Yan donates cookbooks and more to UC Davis

Chef Martin Yan and his wife are both graduates of UC Davis and have donated nearly 3,000 cookbooks, his first wok, thousands of photographs and other items.

DAVIS, Calif. — Chef Martin Yan, along with his wife, donated nearly 3,000 cookbooks, his first wok, thousands of photographs and other artifacts and funds to create the archive of Chef Martin Yan’s legacy in the Archives and Special Collections of the UC Davis Library.

“Over the past 30, 40 years, I’ve collected thousands of books, and I actually have a collection of about 4,500 books all over,” Yan said. “And in fact, about five years ago, I already donated about 500 cookbooks to the UC Davis library. But during that time, we were thinking about how I could collect all these wonderful collections because these books (have cuisine) from all over the world, not just Asian cuisine, but especially a lot of Asian cuisine.”

Yan said that many books are not only in English, but some are even bilingual and in Chinese.

According to the university, the Yans make the following donation:

  • Among the cookbooks, 30 written by Yan
  • Photographs, videos, media clips and slides taken as Yan traveled the world for his food and travel shows, including Yan knows how to cook
  • Awards received by Yan over the years
  • $20,000 to preserve and digitize archives

You may know Martin Yan as the world famous chef and host of the public TV show “Yan Can Cook”. At UC Davis, we…

Posted by UC Davis Library on Monday, January 24, 2022

Chef Martin Yan graduated from UC Davis in the 1970s. His wife also graduated from the school in the same decade.

“We had a lot of wonderful, happy years at Davis,” Yan said. “Cycling and getting to know everyone. You know, when you cycle, you can pass a lot of people, and it’s a wonderful campus.”

The archive is due to be unveiled later this year and according to Yan, its purpose is not just to dazzle people but to be used as an educational tool.

“Well, I think the collection represents a number of areas,” he said. “One is about the travels, the food culture, the history, the heritage of each of the places I’ve been to.”

The UC Davis Library is planning a public event in May to celebrate the collection.

“So I think it’s time for me to give back to the community and to give back to my beloved university, UC Davis, and also to share my passion and love with people around the world,” Yan said. .

Look: Martin Yan and Yan Can Cook Explore Chinatown by the Numbers

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