Special Feature

On Chefs & Artists

Martin Yan Interview by Kate Heyhoe


Kate: Jacques Pepin mentioned that a lot of chefs are artists and lots of artists like to cook, and both are doing something with their hands.

Martin: Yes, because both are creative processes, and we all love to create. And I always believe that if you love to create, you are an artist by nature. You are being a creative person, you can be a much better cook. Not only with the skill. There are cooks that are very good as a craftsman, there are cooks that are very creative, they can create dishes, but there are cooks that are very creative, but they don't have the craft. So that's why Jacques is such a marvelous master. I always consider Jacques as the teacher of teachers and the master of masters.

Kate: But I think you are too. And he says the same thing about you, so obviously you two get along. [laughter]

Martin: Just like anything else, you have to have respect. I would just mention this: the more I am in this business, the more I learn to appreciate what others have achieved, the accomplishments. Nobody can get this lucky and be Julia Child, nobody can be as good as Jacques by just sitting there and fooling around. And you have to practice your craft and do things. Even at home and at the office, I cook for everybody because I love to cook. I would not shine away from something because it's troublesome, as far as food is concerned. I like to cook on a daily basis. If I'm not home, I'll be working with my knife. If I'm home, I'll be the one cooking there. because I never get tired or sick of it. This is not just a career, a job, a means of making a living to survive. This is my passion, and when I talk about food, I can talk about food forever. It's the same with Julia, Jacques, and Jeff and Paul and all these people. Because we love what we do.


Martin Yan Interview


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This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.

Modified October 2007