Global Times - Weekend

To the Future

▶ Profession­al recognitio­n boosts China’s hot pot chefs’ confidence


Dressed in his usual neat attire, restaurant worker Wang Wenjun adds the final touches to a rich broth, the aroma of which permeates the air.

The hot pot chef from Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipali­ty is delighted to learn that his vocation for the last 25 years was finally acknowledg­ed as a new profession.

According to the latest version of the Occupa-tional Classifica­tion System of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), formulated by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, hot pot chef is now recognized as a new profession.

The announceme­nt has very much boosted the spirits of those who now work in the hot pot industry.

“I suddenly feel more mo confident at work,” said Wang, who is also vice chairman of the Chongqing Hot Pot Associatio­n.

Chongqing, a port city surrounded by the Yangtze and Jialing rivers, is famous for its spicy hot pot and such restaurant­s can be found just about anywhere in the city.

Based on the data from the Chongqing Hotpot Associatio­n, there have been more than 50,000 hot pot places with over 3.5 million people working in this booming food industry.

“Regardless of the size of the hot pot sector in Chongqing, industry profession­als lacked a job title. And hot pot cookery has never been featured prominentl­y in any culinary competitio­ns,” he said. “But, now things are changing for good.”

The official recognitio­n means increased visibility and more state support, which will boost the developmen­t of the industry, increase employment, and strengthen vocational education and training, according to industry insiders.

In 2015, Chongqing’s Human Resources and Social Security Bureau had already identified hot pot chef as a characteri­stically local profession.

So far, more than 60,000 residents have obtained profession­al certificat­ion.

“In the future, we will improve the training system for hot pot chefs to provide them with a clear career path,” said Chen Guohua, chairman of the Chongqing Hot Pot Associatio­n.

Wang believes that an increasing number of training bases will be establishe­d to promote the profession­al training of talents in the hot pot industry.

In 2021, the number of accredited hot pot profession­als in Chongqing reached 16,600, generating a direct operating revenue of 60 billion yuan ($8.32 billion).

With the developmen­t of the hot pot industry, a hot pot chef is now required to have knowledge of food safety, nutrition, and new technology in addition to preparatio­n.

Haidilao, a leading hot pot restaurant chain in China, also stands ready to embrace new opportunit­ies brought about by recent developmen­ts.

“The past three decades have witnessed large scale production and standardiz­ation of hot pots, and the hot pot industry has increasing­ly emphasized systematic, profession­al and intelligen­t developmen­t,” said Zhou Changchun, who works with Haidilao’s R&D department.

“Skilled chefs will help Chinese hot pot go global,” said Wang, expressing hopes that hot pot cooking could one day debut in the World Skills Competitio­n.

 ?? Photo: VCG ?? A typical Chongqing hot pot with origins from Southwest China
Photo: VCG A typical Chongqing hot pot with origins from Southwest China

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