76 Questions to Ask a Chef in an Interview

Chefs are known for their amazing culinary skills, but they also need to know how to run a kitchen and work with a team. If you’re looking to hire a new chef for your restaurant, it’s essential to ask the right questions in order to get a feel for their skills and qualifications. But what can you ask a chef during an interview to find out if they’ll be a good fit for your restaurant? This blog post has compiled a list of the most important questions you should ask a chef during an interview.

76 Questions you can ask a chef in an interview:

  1. What inspired you to become a chef? 
  2. What is your favorite type of cuisine to cook? 
  3. What are your favorite ingredients to work with? 
  4. What is your cooking philosophy? 
  5. What experience do you have working in a professional kitchen? 
  6. Can you describe a time when you dealt with a difficult customer or co-worker in the kitchen? 
  7. What is a dish that you created that was particularly successful? 
  8. What was a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation in the kitchen? 
  9. Can you describe a time when you had to go above and beyond for a customer or co-worker in the kitchen? 
  10. What is a dish that you created that was particularly unsuccessful? 
  11. What do you do if you disagree with a fellow chef or co-worker in the kitchen? 
  12. How do you handle criticism? 
  13. What are your strengths as a chef? 
  14. What are your weaknesses as a chef? 
  15. What are your career aspirations as a chef? 
  16. How would you describe your leadership style? 
  17. Can you tell a time when you had to lead a team of cooks in the kitchen? 
  18. Can you describe a time when you had to manage a difficult situation in the kitchen? 
  19. What is your culinary education? 
  20. What cooking methods are you most comfortable with? 
  21. What cuisines are you most familiar with? 
  22. How would you describe your personal cooking style? 
  23. How well do you handle stress and pressure in a kitchen environment? 
  24. What is your experience with menu development? 
  25. What measures do you take to ensure food safety in your kitchen? 
  26. Are you comfortable working long hours, including evenings and weekends? 
  27. Do you have any allergies or dietary restrictions we should be aware of? 
  28. What made you want to become a chef? 
  29. Who are some of your culinary influences? 
  30. What do you think sets your cooking apart from other chefs’? 
  31. Do you have any awards or accolades that we should know about? 
  32. Do you have any published recipes or cookbooks we can look at? 
  33. Do you have any blog posts or articles we can read to learn more about your views on the culinary world? 
  34. Do you have any social media accounts that potential employers can follow to see your work? 
  35. Do you have any questions about the position or our restaurant/hotel/etc.?
  36. How would you describe your culinary style? 
  37. How many years of experience do you have as a chef? 
  38. Where did you train to become a chef? 
  39. What positions have you held in the kitchen? 
  40. What was your most recent job before this one? 
  41.  Do you have any dietary restrictions or allergies? 
  42. What was a time when you had to come up with an innovative dish on short notice? 
  43. Can you tell me about a time when you made a mistake in the kitchen and how you handled it? 
  44. Do you have any experience with food cost analysis and portion control? 
  45. Are you familiar with HACCP guidelines and food safety procedures? 
  46. What are your signature dishes?
  47. How have you developed your skills as a chef?
  48. What challenges have you faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?
  49. What are the most important qualities of a successful chef?
  50. What are the biggest trends in the culinary world right now?
  51. What do you think sets your cooking apart from other chefs? 
  52. What kitchen utensils and equipment are you most comfortable using? 
  53. What do you do if you run out of an ingredient while cooking? 
  54. How well do you work as part of a team in the kitchen? 
  55. Can you describe a time when you had to lead a team of cooks in the kitchen? 
  56. How well do you handle criticism from others, including your superiors? 
  57. Are you comfortable taking direction from others, including your seniors? 
  58. What kind of foods do you like to cook?
  59. What is your experience with catering or special event planning?
  60. Tell me about a time when you dealt with a difficult customer or co-worker in the kitchen.
  61. Tell me about a time when you had to make a quick decision in the kitchen.
  62. Tell me about a time when you made a mistake in the kitchen and how you handled it.
  63. What is the most important quality for a chef to possess?
  64. How did you get interested in cooking?
  65. What was your first job in the food industry?
  66. How have you progressed through the ranks of the kitchen staff?
  67. What has been your most memorable moment as a chef?
  68. What has been your biggest accomplishment as a chef?
  69. Are there any specific areas that you need to improve upon?
  70. How have you expanded your knowledge of food and cooking over the years?
  71. Who are some of your culinary influences?
  72. How have they influenced your cooking style?
  73. What trends do you see emerging in the culinary world?
  74. Do you prefer to use local, seasonal ingredients in your dishes?
  75. Do you have any experience working with organic or sustainable ingredients?
  76. Do you support any particular farm-to-table or slow food movements?

Frequently Asked Questions

What are a chef’s duties?

A chef’s duties are many and varied. They may include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Planning and preparing menus
• Supervising the kitchen staff
• Purchasing food and supplies
• Coordinating with other departments in the restaurant
• Training new cooks
• Maintaining a sanitary kitchen environment
• Serving food and beverages
• Cleaning up after meals

How much do you tip a personal chef?

How much you tip a personal chef depends on their service. If the chef has gone above and beyond in their service, or if you feel they have provided an exceptional experience, then a tip of 10-15% is customary. However, tipping is usually not required if the chef is just doing their job and providing basic services.

What are the values of a chef?

Chefs strive for excellence in their craft. They are passionate about food and creating beautiful and flavorful dishes. They work with harmony and care, ensuring that every dish they make is perfect.

Chefs are also humble, knowing they are just one part of the team creating a great meal. They have a tremendous imagination and always come up with new recipes and flavor combinations.

Finally, chefs are courageous, taking risks in their cooking and experimenting with new ingredients and techniques. They are also great business owners who know how to run a kitchen.

What are the challenges of a personal chef?

A personal chef can be a tremendous asset to a busy family, but the role can also present some unique challenges. One of the biggest challenges is ensuring the chef accurately understands what the family likes and does not like. To accomplish this, the family needs to be very specific about their dietary restrictions and preferences. 

Accordingly, another challenge for private chefs is dealing with dietary restrictions that may not be common. For example, if someone in the family has a gluten allergy, the chef needs to know how to prepare gluten-free meals. They may also need to purchase special ingredients not typically found in grocery stores.

A final challenge for home cooks is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. This can be difficult because most chefs work very long hours and have little flexibility in their schedules. It’s important that they set boundaries and take time for themselves, otherwise, they may feel overwhelmed and stressed.

What are the 8 qualities of a professional chef?

A professional chef is someone who dedicates their life to the culinary arts. They have a passion for food and a drive to learn as much as possible about cooking. Here are eight qualities of a professional chef:

A professional chef is always learning. They never stop learning new techniques and recipes.

A professional chef is creative. They come up with new dishes and ideas.

A professional chef is patient. They take the time to perfect their dishes.

A professional chef is precise. Everything they do in the kitchen is done with precision and care.

A professional chef is organized. Their kitchen is always clean and orderly.

A professional chef is efficient. They can work quickly and efficiently even under pressure.

A professional chef has a good palate. They can taste food and determine which ingredients are used in a dish.

A professional chef has a passion for food. They love trying new dishes and flavors and are always eager to learn more about cooking.

Conclusion

Being a chef means more than just being able to cook. You must be able to lead and motivate a team, handle customer complaints with dignity, and have strong organizational skills. Asking the right questions in an interview will help you determine if a candidate has the necessary skills to be a successful addition to your team. By keeping these questions in mind, you’ll be well on your way to hiring the best possible candidates for your open chef positions.

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