Martin Yan shows how to slice, mince, and julienne your way to more delicious food
Before the 3,600 TV episodes, the two dozen cookbooks, or the many restaurants, Martin Yan was a guy who worked magic with a knife. A kid, in fact; he started his career at age 13 in an uncle’s restaurant in Hong Kong, prepping vegetables.
“In a Chinese kitchen, a chef’s knife is the most important tool,” says Yan. In a blur of action, he demonstrates the knife’s versatility for us, using it to smash, roll cut, shred, and much more. “This is the beauty of Chinese cuisine—even if you have the same vegetable, changing the cut gives you a lot of variety.”
In addition to making food prettier, traditional Chinese cutting techniques expose extra surface area, resulting in more flavor and texture and more even cooking.
“The right tools and a few basic skills—that’s all you need. And since you have to cook, you might as well enjoy it,” says Yan.