72 Questions to Ask a Chef

When it comes to food, who knows more than a chef? Chefs have years of training and experience in the culinary arts, and they’re passionate about their work. If you’re curious about the inner workings of a restaurant kitchen or just want to learn more about your favorite dish, asking a chef is a great way to get answers.

So what should you ask a chef or cook if you want to get to know him or her better? We’ve put together a list of questions that will help you get to know the chef in front of you – and maybe even learn a thing or two about cooking in the process.

72 Questions you can ask a chef that will help you get the information you’re looking for:

  1. Why did you decide to become a chef?
  2. What is your favorite ingredient to work with?
  3. What is your least favorite ingredient to work with? And why?
  4. What dish are you most proud of creating?
  5. What’s your cooking philosophy?
  6. Do you have any specific dietary preferences or restrictions that you cook for?
  7. How do you come up with new recipes?
  8. What trends are you seeing in the culinary world right now?
  9. What are your thoughts on food trends?
  10. How do you stay current with new trends and techniques?
  11. Where did you learn to cook?
  12. Who are your culinary inspirations?
  13. What was your first job in the food industry?
  14. What challenges do you face in your work?
  15. What’s the best part about being a chef?
  16. What do you like best about your job?
  17. What’s the most challenging thing about your job?
  18. What are your favorite seasonal ingredients?
  19. What are your favorite cooking methods?
  20. What do you think makes a dish successful?
  21. What do you think about the food presentation?
  22. What role does creativity play in cooking?
  23. What do you think about fusion cuisine?
  24. What’s your favorite dish on the menu?
  25. How long have you been cooking?
  26. Do you have any formal training?
  27. What kind of food do you like to cook the most?
  28. What dishes do you like to experiment with?
  29. Are there any ingredients that you’re particularly excited about right now?
  30. Where do you get your inspiration for new dishes?
  31. How does the kitchen decide which new dishes to put on the menu?
  32. How do you come up with the names of your dishes?
  33. How often do you change your menu?
  34. Which dish on your menu is the most difficult to prepare?
  35. Can you tell me more about this ingredient/dish/menu item?
  36. Is there anything on your menu that’s particularly popular/controversial/unique?
  37. How has your experience as a chef influenced your approach to food?
  38. How would you describe your culinary style?
  39. How long does it take to prepare this dish?
  40. Would you recommend a wine pairing with this dish?
  41. Is the dish spicy?
  42. Can this dish be prepared vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free?
  43. How do you handle stress in the kitchen?
  44. What’s your management style?
  45. How do you motivate your team?
  46. How do you deal with conflicts in the kitchen?
  47. How do you deal with difficult customers?
  48. How do you deal with criticism?
  49. What are your favorite cookbooks or websites that you use for inspiration?
  50. What do you think is the most important skill a chef should have?
  51. What experience have you had in a professional kitchen?
  52. How adventurous are you when it comes to trying new foods?
  53. How adventurous are you when it comes to experimenting with new flavor combinations?
  54. How would you describe your level of creativity when it comes to cooking?
  55. Do you prefer to follow recipes or create your own dishes?
  56. When you create a new dish, what do you usually start with – ingredients or flavors?
  57. Are there certain flavors you like to use together?
  58. Is there anything you avoid using in your cooking?
  59. Do you think certain flavors just don’t work well together?
  60. Do you have any tips for creating unique flavor combinations in dishes?
  61. Are there foods you absolutely will not eat, no matter what?
  62. Do you have experience with catering?
  63. Do you offer cooking classes?
  64. Do you have any signature dishes or house specialties?
  65. Do you have any awards or accolades I should know about?
  66. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
  67. What would we be surprised to learn about you?
  68. What are some common misconceptions about chefs and cooking?
  69. Do you have any insider tips on how to order off the menu or get the most out of my dining experience?
  70. Do you have any advice for aspiring chefs?
  71. What projects are you working on right now that we can look forward to?
  72. How can we support your work?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are chefs called chefs?

The origin of the word chef is unknown, although some scholars believe it may be derived from the French word for “chief” which refers to the person responsible for managing a kitchen or restaurant.

Others suggest that it comes from the Old French term “head cook” which refers to someone skilled in preparing gourmet dishes. Regardless of its exact origins, the word chef is associated with proficiency and skill in the culinary arts, and today refers to both professional chefs and amateur cooks who are passionate about creating delicious dishes.

What are basic chef skills?

The basic skills that every chef should have to include the ability to follow recipes accurately, good time management, and a thorough knowledge of various cooking techniques. These skills are important for chefs to prepare delicious and well-balanced meals for their customers. In addition, good communication and teamwork skills are important for chefs to work effectively as part of a culinary team.

What are the values of a chef?

A chef is someone who possesses a set of important values. These include creativity, dedication, attention to detail, and a strong work ethic. 

A chef must be able to think outside the box, constantly coming up with new ideas for dishes that are both delicious and visually appealing. They must also have the stamina and perseverance to put in long hours in the kitchen, working tirelessly to perfect their recipes. 

Finally, a chef must have excellent organizational skills and be able to complete complex tasks efficiently. Whether they work in an upscale restaurant or a fast-paced food truck, these core values make them an indispensable part of any kitchen team.


A conversation with a chef or cook can be both enlightening and delicious! We hope these questions helped give you some direction on what topics to discuss with your next chef encounter. Learning about a chef’s personal journey, motivations and inspirations can add another level of enjoyment to something as simple as dinner conversation- enjoy!

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