A South Korean traditional sweets master has received the monthly state recognition for his outstanding artisanship, a government ministry said Friday.
Kim Gyu-heun, the master artisan of "hangwa," or South Korean traditional confectionery, usually made from grains and natural sweeteners, was dubbed the "South Korean Artisan of the Month" for July, a recognition jointly presented by the Ministry of Employment and Labor, and the Human Resources Development Service of Korea.
With 35 years of expertise in making hangwa, the 60-year-old master has dedicated himself to the globalization of the South Korean delicacy.
Kim started his own hangwa business, "Shingung Hangwa," in 1981, in a 50-square-meter space that he rented from a local confectionery factory. The award-winning master has won presidential awards and top honors conferred by government ministries, such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
In 1986, two years before South Korea hosted its first Olympic Games in Seoul, Kim developed his special "chocolate hangwa" recipe for international visitors. The recipe introduced a then-rare blend of South Korea's traditional confectionery and the Western treat.
Since then, Kim has obtained five patents related to making "yakgwa," one of the most popular kinds of hangwa.
Also under his belt are some 170 unique recipes of "functional hangwa," or hangwa treats with special health functions, such as those that promote certain biological functions or prevent particular symptoms.
In 2008, Kim launched a hangwa museum and education center in Pocheon, 46 kilometers north of Seoul, in Gyeonggi Province, to foster young talents. (Yonhap)