Chau was born in Vancouver, British Columbia to a father from Hong Kong and a mother from Malaysia. In 2000, he took up Wing Chun and continued to study the martial art for eight years. He also studied tai chi and traditional forms of wushu under Zhang Zhi Bing, a master from Harbin, China. After four years, upon Zhang’s return to China, Chau enrolled in West Coast Chinese Martial Arts in Vancouver under head instructor Bruce Fontaine and studied modern wushu, a more performance-orientated martial art. In 2007, Chau trained for seven months with the BSU Wushu Team at Beijing Sport University in preparation for the Canadian National Team Trials. Upon his return, he became a member of the Canadian National Wushu Team.
Chau originally wanted to be a stuntman rather than an actor, and worked on stunts for EA Games before appearing in his first major role opposite David Carradine and Daryl Hannah in the two-part TV movie Kung Fu Killer. He went on to make his feature film debut in a supporting role in the 2009 film 2012 and is best known for his role as Kevin Tran in the CW series Supernatural and Vogel in the BBC America series Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency