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Sunday,January 20,2019
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Chocolatier
Have you ever heard of chocolatier?  Do you know who it is?  Maybe you can guess very easily.  I will give you a clue.  The word chocolatier sounds like chocolate.  Yes!  You have got it!  Chocolatiers are the ones who make chocolate.  However there are more than just making chocolate.  Do you want to know more about chocolatier?  Let's meet the first chocolatier in Korea, Kim Seong Mi, and  listen to her story. 
The Post: Can you explain about chocolatier?
Kim: Chocolatier is a French.  To explain briefly, chocolatier is a person who makes chocolate.  In addition, like fashion designers who attend fashion shows and cooks who cook delicious dishes, chocolatiers do not only make chocolates just to eat.  Chocolate can be a work to show people.  In that manner, chocolate is a work of art to attract people.  However, since chocolate cannot be kept more than three or four years, that could be one difference from fashion and food.
The Post: Chocolatier seems a bit strange to Koreans.  How long has chocolatier been in Korea?
Kim: It has been seven years since the word 'chocolatier' has been introduced to Koreans.  However, chocolatier is a profession.  People call me I am the first chocolatier in Korea.  It is because I was the first person to show people what chocolatier is doing.  However, if we think about people who make chocolate in bakery and hotels, the history of chocolatier is not that short.  It has been a long time. 
The Post: How did you become the first chocolatier in Korea?
Kim: I was a sociology major in university.  To study more, I went to Japan.  Maybe my life as a chocolatier began from then.  During my study in Japan, I went to Europe to learn a language.  At there, I visited a chocolate shop.  Various styles of chocolate were displayed in the shop.  They were all fantastic enough to caught my eyes.  Moreover, I was very interested in food and cooking from when I was a young girl.  Especially, I love chocolate!  So after ten years I went back to Europe to study about chocolate.
The Post: How big is chocolate market in Korea?
Kim: Since there was no handicraft chocolate market in Korea , I cannot tell the scale of market in an exact number.  However, chocolate industry especially handicraft chocolate market is one of the fastest growing markets in Korean grocery market.  That is for sure.
The Post: What qualifications are needed to be a chocolatier?
Kim: Now, there is not a test or a license to be a chocolatier.  But, I believe those are not important.  The most important thing is your mind.  In my opinion, people who want to be a chocolatier should be ready to spend their whole life learning about chocolate.  If you want to learn about chocolate and experience chocolate culture, those are the crucial points you should keep in your mind.  Rather than chocolate-making technology, peoples' interest, passion and efforts are much more needed.  Learning how to make chocolate is not that difficult.(laugh)  Composing one’s thought is difficult and most required. 
The Post: How can someone become a chocolatier?
Kim: Students could study in department of Baking and Confectionary or department of Food Service Industry.  However, others cannot take such courses in universities.  So people could take a course in private academies to become a chocolatier.  After taking a basic course in an academy, people would feel what they need more to be a professional chocolatier.  Then they could go abroad for more study or take a profession course in Korea. 
The Post: Why is chocolatier attractive?
Kim: Chocolate means sweet and lovely.  People give chocolate to their girlfriends and boyfriends.  There is no one who gets angry with chocolate or throw away it.  The meaning of chocolate itself is very attractive to me.  So chocolatiers have very pure and sweet mind while they are making chocolate.  Concentrating and imagining the most beautiful scenes in my mind while making chocolate is the charm of chocolatier.  Also you can work as a chocolatier as long as you want.  I mean even though you are old and get weak, you can still make a chocolate work.  You can participate by only designing or tasting chocolate. 
The Post: Is there any difficulty working as a chocolatier?
Kim: I always have to imagine happiest moment when making chocolate.  That sometimes become very stressful to me.  I cannot  always be happy since I am also a human being. (Laugh).  However, I believe those are also difficult points to others.  So there are more merits than demerits working as a chocolatier. 
The Post: Do you have any advice for students who want to be a chocolatier?
Kim: From November 29 to December 2, we are having Korea Chocolatier Contest for the first time in COEX, Seoul.  People who are interested in chocolate or chocolatiers are all welcome.  I would like people to see and experience the chocolate more closely.  As I told you before, chocolatier is a lifetime job.  You do not always have to approach the job as a profession.  So by visiting the contest, you will be able to learn how to enjoy chocolate in your life. 
While we were talking with Ms.Kim, there were about ten students making chocolate.  They were concentrating all of their mind making their chocolate work.  After the interview, a lady in her twenties came to the office to consult with Kim Seong Mi.  She was all day very busy, which means chocolatier got very famous.  Those interest is no more than just curiosity.  There are many people who want to become a professional chocolatier.  "If you really love chocolate and have a mind to learn in your whole life, you will be a great chocolatier." Kim Seong Mi added with a bright smile. 

You Sun-hee  sunheeyou@dongguk.edu

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