Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chef-strucked! Meeting Chef Martin Yan

"Food is about (creating) great memories, when you're always having fun...everyday is a good day." - Martin Yan

I love watching cooking shows. Growing up, my week wouldn't be complete without watching Wok with Yan where my family and I would laugh our hearts out at the funny antics of Stephen Yan and would look forward to every show to see his hilarious apron messages. He must be the pioneer in statement shirts aprons! Mommy also loves the traditional Chinese cooking of Pei Mei to the point that she would collect her books as well. As we get older, I would tune in to the local show entitled Cooking with the Dazas featuring Nora Daza and her kids Nina and Sandy, who are two of the food writers that I admire today. Lastly, there's Yan can Cook.

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Martin Yan was born in Guanzhou, China to a restauranteur father and a mother who runs a grocery store. At a very young age, he has possessed the interest and talent in cooking. As such, he began his apprentice at age 13 at a popular Hong Kong restaurant and would later accept his Masters of Science in Food Technology diploma from UC Davies years later. Quite impressive, huh? Well Martin Yan is not only one of the most popular TV chefs today but he's a food consultant and a certified master chef too!

"I always love people...I love to teach..."

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His cooking show, Yan Can Cook began airing in 1978 and offcam, Martin Yan would teach in several culinary institutions in the US. I remember watching him demonstrate a couple of traditional Chinese dishes with a modern flair. One thing that got me hooked was his ability to entertain his viewers with his funny comments and his amazing knife skills too!

Needless to say, upon receiving an invite from the Asian Food Channel (AFC) to have lunch with Martin Yan, I immediately said yes and there I was at Summer Palace in EDSA Shangri-la Hotel at exactly 12 noon ready to meet the man whom my family love for years!

Martin Yan stars in his own AFC produced show entitled True Passion - Martin Yan. This will only run for a week and in this show, he will be preparing his signature dishes paired with a glass of wine. This is truly how East meets West! It teaches viewers that wine actually goes very well with your favorite Chinese dish. Anything is possible!

"Filipinos inspire me to always smile..." 

The Master Chef was in town to meet his Filipino fans and to demonstrate some of his signature dishes, one of which I will share below. It was truly fun chatting with him as he told us about his favorite vacation spots, his passion and his positive outlook in life.

Let me share with you what we had the day:


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Appetizer Trio: Crispy Bean Curd Skin Roll, Pomelo Wasabi Salad and Suckling Pig
I loved the Pomelo Wasabi Salad which was so refreshing. The Suckling Pig was succulent and crispy just the way it should be. I wasn't too thrilled over the Crispy Bean Curd Skin Roll though as it was just too oily for me.

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Supreme Seafood Soup
Oh, this soup deserves its name! It was delicious! Rich broth filled with sea cucumber, scallops, mushroom and all the yummy goodness of the sea! I enjoyed this to the very last drop and wouldn't mind having more!

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Dragon and Phoenix in a Basket
Martin Yan demonstrated this dish to us and it took him less than 15 minutes to cook and assemble this lovely piece. The dragon stands for the crunchy prawns while the phonix symbolizes the tender chicken meat. It was delicious! You may also eat the rice noodle but I got to warn you, it tastes pretty bland. :)

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Smoked Marinated Squab
Unsure what squab means, my seatmate A had to look it up in her phone's dictionary. We guessed it right that it's a type of bird very similar to a pigeon. The meat was darker than chicken and it has the same elasticity of a pigeon. I enjoyed the savory sauce that covered the smoked squab.

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Beef Stew with Bean Curd Sticks and Chinese Chestnuts
One bite and I had to ask Chef Martin how long did they had to cook the beef. He answered saying that they had to cook this for hours! No wonder it was so tender that the beef easily flaked off with just a soft nudge using my chopsticks.

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Sadly that was my last dish as I had to leave to head back to the office! I hope I didn't miss out on more yummy dishes. Before I did my graceful exit though, I made sure to ask Martin Yan for an autograph and a photo op for souvenir to which he happily obliged. Yay!

Seared Fish in Egg White Sauce
Sharing with you the recipe of Martin Yan's Seared Fish Fillet in Egg White Sauce:

What you need:
1 Snapper, Halibut or other white fish (Fillet)

Seasoning:
1 tablespoons chardonnay
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced ham
1 small hot green or red chili
½ cup chicken stock
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
½ cup cooked crabmeat
2 ounces baby shrimp, peeled
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in tablespoon water
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Step-by-step:
Peel and seed melon. Cut flesh into 5cm x 1cm length sticks. Set aside. Combine the seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add oil, swirling to coat sides. Add ginger, chili, and ham and stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add melon and stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer until melon is cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Add crabmeat, shrimp, and seasonings and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch solution and stir until sauce thickens. Remove wok from the heat. Drizzle egg white over melon, gently stirring with chopsticks until long egg strands form. Serve hot.

Yield: 4 pax

Catch True Passion - Martin Yan from September 10 to 14, 2012 at 730PM. AFC is available at Skycable Channel 22,  Dream Satellite Channel 27 and Cignal Channel 30. 

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