A List of Interview Questions for Chefs

chef and woman discussing menu at table in restaurant
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When you are preparing for an interview for a chef position, you will need to do your research. There is stiff competition for the most desirable jobs, and you need to bring your best to your interview. It’s helpful to review the most important skills for a chef, and think of examples where you have used these skills with success at the restaurants you’ve worked in.

Preparing thoroughly will get you ready to answer any of these commonly asked interview questions for chefs with confidence.

Chef Interview Questions

Why did you decide to become a chef? What other back-of-the-house positions have you previously held?

Did you go to culinary school? What credentials did you earn through your culinary studies?

What did you like best about the education experience? What did you like least?

Where and how were you trained?

What is your management style? What management style do you prefer for your supervisor to have?

How many employees report to you? What levels are the employees who are your direct reports?

Are you a team player? Describe your usual role in a team-centered work environment? Do you easily assume a leadership role?

Do you have a sense of humor?

Tell me about a difficult situation and how you handled it?

Describe the relationship between back-of-the-house and front-of-the-house operations.

Tell me about your experience with employee and workforce management. Describe the last time you had to discipline a subordinate.

Are you able to work flexible hours?

Is there a chef you admire the most? Who and why?

What is your favorite cuisine? How many different types of cuisine are you capable of producing?

What is your favorite cuisine to cook?

What is your favorite wine?

Tell me about your wine knowledge.

Tell me about pairing wine and food.

What trends are you noticing regarding wine and food pairings?

What is an example of a springtime menu you would prepare for me?

If you were asked to reduce fat and sodium in a menu, what would you do maintain flavor in the quality of the dish?

What do you do to stay current on new trends? Describe two or three of the most interesting industry trends.

How do you test the quality of your ingredients?

Describe your knowledge of food safety.

How involved are you in the beverage component of your establishment?

How involved are you with menu development and overall design?

When are you happiest at work?

If you were told that your food cost was high, what five things would you look at first?

What is the average annual revenue of the restaurants you have worked in?

How involved are you in the financial aspect of the business?

Tell me about your budgeting, purchasing and inventory control experience.

Background Research for Your Interview

You should make sure you are familiar with the restaurant’s cuisine and menu, and as much of its business model and history as you can find out. If you have contacts at the restaurant, tap them for potential insider information to help you make the best impression during your interview.

The more you know about how the business is run, the better you can tailor your answers to show how you will improve their menu and profitability. Make sure you also have some questions to ask the interviewer to show them your depth of knowledge and interest in the position.

Restaurant and Food Service Jobs

Many times, as the chef, your responsibilities will include much more than just the oversight of the kitchen at a restaurant. You may have management of the front of the house as well, and be responsible for hiring waitstaff, bartenders, cooks, and other employees.

During your interview for a chef position, you should be prepared to discuss general restaurant and food service skills as well, especially as they relate to the efficient running of a dining establishment.

More Job Interview Questions

In addition to job specific interview questions, you will also be asked more general questions about your employment history, education, strengths, weaknesses, achievements, goals and plans.

Here's a list of the most common interview questions and examples of answers. If you are seeking a chef position that includes management or executive-level duties, you may be asked to describe your leadership capabilities, supervisory experience and expertise in financial and restaurant costing matters.

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