Chef Interview Questions
Example Interview Questions
In this article, you will learn more about chef interview questions and answers that can help you prepare for your next interview.
How has your experience as a chef helped you in your career?
Asking you about your experience as a chef helps the interviewer determine whether you are passionate about the culinary field. It also gets you talking about a specific experience in your career and what you learned from them. In your answer, be sure to describe how your experience as a chef specifically contributed to the skills you possess and how it prepared you for your current role.
Example answer: "My experience as a chef has helped me develop a high attention to detail. I pay attention to every detail and use those skills to ensure quality control. I also manage many different tasks at once, just like managing multiple orders in a restaurant kitchen. I believe one of the most important qualities of a leader is the ability to juggle many tasks at once without sacrificing quality."
What are the most important skills for a chef to possess?
Working in a kitchen can be a high-pressure environment. As a chef, you must understand the importance of every task and be able to prioritize accordingly. This will require you to think outside the box and have the ability to adapt quickly to any situation.
Example answer: "I think two of the most important skills in any kitchen are multitasking and time management. When you're in a restaurant, things can get very chaotic. A lot has to happen in a short amount of time to prepare food for customers. This means I have to multitask between my preparation of dishes and keeping the food line flowing. To stay on top of things, I schedule my tasks by priority and oversee an assembly-line workflow."
What is a typical day like as a chef?
A chef deals with everything, from ordering ingredients and making sure they're fresh, to coordinating with suppliers, to making sure food is presented and plated to standards. In an interview, a question about what a chef does each day is open-ended and broad, which means you should use it to highlight your strong points.
Example answer: "On any given day, I could be preparing the menu, ordering ingredients, planning the day of service, working with my staff or attending various events. A chef has to be on top of things at all times."
Can you describe a difficult situation you encountered while working as a chef and how you handled it?
As a chef, you will be faced with situations where you are expected to manage people, handle stressful situations and ensure that the quality of food is maintained. If you have the right experience, you might answer this question with an example that shows that you can rise to the challenge and make decisions that keep everyone happy.
Example answer: "During a particularly busy weekend brunch, all of the chefs were preoccupied with a catering job that needed to be completed immediately. As the newest member of the kitchen crew, I was left alone to prepare some of the dishes. I did not realize at first that I was working on two different brunch orders at the same time. When one of the dishes was not ready in time, I realized that I had to fix the problem. The other dish was taken out to the table. I had to make sure the dishes were both ready at the same time and put them out at the same time. I finished the one dish quickly and moved on to the other dish. It came out perfectly and was brought to the table at the same time as the other dish."
What are some of the most important qualities a good chef should possess?
A good chef needs to be a jack of all trades. You are responsible for preparing the food, but also keeping the kitchen running smoothly and expediting orders. An effective chef will possess the right qualities to manage those tasks.
Example answer: "A good chef must be organized, motivated, diligent, creative, have a consistent work ethic, be capable of learning new techniques and have the ability to multitask."
What are some of the challenges you face as a chef?
A good chef is a creative problem solver. You should provide an example of a challenge you faced and how you overcame it. Describe the steps you took to solve the problem and what tools you used to make it a success.
Example answer: "A challenge I once faced as a chef was creating a new menu for my restaurant. I wanted to create something that customers would want to come back for. In order to do that, I decided to focus the menu on the five most popular proteins. Then I made sure the recipes for each protein were different, but also consistent with the 'flavor profile' we had established. Finally, I worked with our team of sous chefs to train them to prepare the new menu and trained our waiters to describe the dishes to our customers."
How would you describe your cooking style?
This question is meant to give the interviewer insight into what kind of chef you are. It also relates to your previous experience in a kitchen. What is your cooking style? Is it cutting-edge? Classical? Vegetarian? Is it healthy? Comfort food? The interviewer doesn't expect you to be a master chef, but the answer should give the interviewer an idea about your approach to cooking and how you can apply those skills.
Example answer: "My cooking style is a bit of both old and new. I like to combine the best from the classic French culinary school with the most innovative ingredients and techniques. I feel it's important to never stop learning. I visit local markets, try new recipes and attend workshops on a regular basis. I believe in employing all aspects of culinary expertise to help meet the team's goals."
If you were on your own, what type of restaurant would you like to open?
A good chef knows their strengths and this question might help the interviewer better match you to a particular restaurant. Your answer should demonstrate your understanding of the restaurant industry. It also gives you the opportunity to elaborate on and show your passion for the industry.
Example answer: "I have always had a passion for making innovative dishes. I also enjoy training others and mentoring them as they develop their skills, which is what I would do if I opened my own restaurant. I would also like to teach cooking classes, but I would focus on hands-on classes that give participants the chance to learn by doing."