Martin Yan To Be Guest Chef on Campus

Renowned Chef To Give Cooking Demos; Recipes To Be Adapted for Dining Facilities

In his chef coat, celebrity chef Martin Yan holds up a piece of food
Celebrity chef and UC Davis alum Martin Yan, shown during a cooking demonstration at the Shields Library in September, will entertain diners at Latitude Restaurant Friday during a visit as guest chef. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Celebrity chef and UC Davis alum Martin Yan will present cooking demonstrations, mingle with diners at Latitude Restaurant and more during a campus visit this week.

He is the second guest chef to share inspiration and recipes with campus chefs as they diversify the menus in residential dining facilities.

His activities at Latitude on Friday include:

  • 11:20 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Cooking demonstration, including the pulling of noodles and cutting up a chicken
  • 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. — Yan signs his cookbooks (some will be given away to students) and talks with students.
  • 3:30 to 5 p.m. — Yan presents a second cooking demonstration.

The restaurant’s offerings that day will be all Asian, including noodles made with Yan’s recipe, walnut shrimp, Korean chicken, mapo tofu, and emperor’s pork with wok-fried bok choy.


Latitude Restaurant will open at its regular time of 10:30 a.m. and, because of Yan's visit, continue service through dinner and close at 8 p.m.

The price at the door for all you care to eat is $14.50 plus tax. Guests using Aggie Cash receive a 10% discount.

Open to the public, Latitude serves lunch and dinner Monday through Friday; usually, there is a break between the two services. Hours vary by day.

The restaurant is located on Bioletti Way south of Hutchison Drive.

Open to the public, the restaurant begins lunch service at 10:30 a.m. and, because of Yan’s visit, will remain open through dinner and close at 8 p.m.

Yan — chef, television host, cookbook author, restaurateur and entrepreneur — will be the second of recent guest chefs to lend their talents and recipes to the university’s residential dining facilities.

The event is being held at Latitude Restaurant. Opened in 2020 and the newest of four residential dining facilities, the restaurant rotates Latin, Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian, European and African cuisine through its lunch and dinner menus.

As part of his visit to campus, Yan will also meet with about a dozen campus culinary leaders to share inspiration, present demonstrations and provide his recipes for adaptation and use in campus dining facilities in about four weeks.

In November, award-winning Navajo chef and cookbook author Freddie Bitsoie hosted three nights featuring Native American food and demonstrations in campus dining facilities.

Kraig Brady, executive director of Dining Services, said the involvement of guest chefs is part of a larger effort to diversify the dining facilities’ menus and celebrate the cultures of the student body. Dining Services has also conducted focus groups with students and invites them to submit recipes to be incorporated into menus as “Flavors from Home.” 

Yan laid the foundation for his career by teaching cooking classes in the 1970s to fellow students at UC Davis. Receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in food science from the university in 1973 and 1977, Yan went on to host the public television show “Yan Can Cook” for 40 years and built a loyal following while traveling the world as an ambassador for Chinese food and culture.

In 2022, Yan donated his collection of nearly 3,000 cookbooks, his first wok, thousands of photographs and other media along with funds to create the Chef Martin Yan Legacy Archive at the UC Davis Library.

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