China / Society

Chongqing turns up heat on hotpot studies

By Luo Wangshu (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-04 07:31

If you've three months and a few thousand yuan to spare, you can study for a certificate from a hotpot academy and become a master in the cuisine.

The Chongqing Hotpot Academy was launched on Oct 26 in the municipality, which is widely recognized as the place where hotpot originated.

The academy has been co-established by the Chongqing Hotpot Association, the Chongqing Cuisine Association and the Chongqing Modern Vocational Training Academy.

Xiang Yaojin, dean of the vocational training academy, said it is the first professional training organization in the city.

The academy will start hiring in the spring and open to group and individual students. Short-term training classes vary from three to six months, and the average cost per month is 1,000 yuan ($163) per student. The class work includes garnishes, stir-frying sauces and dressings.

Thirty percent of students' work at the academy will comprise theory studies, and 70 percent will be practice. All students will be awarded a hotpot certificate of some kind.

Chen Xi, a local hotpot enthusiast, said, "The academy may help me to realize my dream of becoming a hotpot master," adding that he has always wanted to own a hotpot restaurant but has been concerned about the taste of the food.

"No one in my family runs a hotpot business. It is hard for me to get in," Chen said.

Chongqing hot pot is famed for its spiciness, with the city being named "hotpot city" by the China Cuisine Association in 2007.

According to the Chongqing Hotpot Association, the city has about 50,000 hotpot restaurants and more than 2 million people work in the industry.

Li Dejian, director of the association, said that despite the millions of hotpot workers in the city, there is still a shortage of professionals.

The academy has created a teaching and practice system, Li said, adding that creativity and innovation are also important.

The city has been linked closely to the cuisine and works hard to promote and protect it.

In January, Chongqing said it hopes to add hotpot to the State-level Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Li's association has prepared an application in an attempt to help protect the traditional cooking process, skills, utensils and dining style.

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