Wok Agreement keeps Asian chefs in the Netherlands for now


chin-ind-restaurant-branko-collinAsian restaurants in the Netherlands will receive 3,150 work permits for the next two years.

This may be good news for the 400 or so chefs that are currently unemployed because their permits ran out. Originally the permits were not renewed because the Dutch government thought the restaurants should hire European chefs. Government departments did not agree with the restaurant sector on how difficult it is to cook with a wok.

Frank Chan, vice-president of the Association of Chinese Hospitality Entrepreneurs, told VICE that as a result of the original work permit reduction a hundred restaurants had to close shop. It’s not clear whether this is in addition to or including the restaurants that closed because young Dutch-Chinese entrepreneurs prefer running hotels.

A new agreement between the Dutch government and the sector, already dubbed the Wok Agreement, states that restaurants get a period of two years in which their number of work permits will remain at the current level on the condition that they start training European chefs.

Kaji But of the Sea Palace restaurant in Amsterdam thinks more time is needed. Dutch chefs don’t speak Cantonese and Chinese chefs tend to learn the trade while working in the kitchen but not through formal education, he says. VICE adds that last summer a seven-day course for Asian chefs was introduced to the country which includes a nasi bami bootcamp.

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