Kelly C. Chan was born in Battambang, Cambodia, where she spent many happy hours helping her parents prepare meals for the family.When the communist regime took over in 1975, Chan was forced into a group home where she worked hard labor for over twelve hours a day, every day. Once the Vietnamese liberation began in 1979, Chan and her family were able to escape to a Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand. In 1982, Chan and her family were able to move to the United States. Living in San Jose, California, for the past twenty-three years, Chan currently works as a registered dental assistant and hairstylist. She was inspired to write Cambodian Cooking: South East Asian Style as a way to spread both the food and culture of her homeland.