Chef preparing a meal

How to answer common chef interview questions

How to answer common chef interview questions

Amandeep Chahal our consultant managing the role
Date posted: 07/02/2024

Did you know that interview questions come in different flavours?

Hiring managers use a blend of questions and activities so they can get to know who you are as a person, how you'll work in a team and what experience you'll serve up.

If you're gearing up for an interview or plotting your next job move, you'll want to get familiar with the different types of questions that will come your way. To help you put your best foot forward, we've whipped up a quick guide, with some extra tips for adding a bit of personality to your answers and beating any interview jitters.

So, let's get kicked off with four main types of interview questions.

What are some common chef interview questions? And how should you answer them?

Traditional

  1. What inspired you to become a chef?
  2. What's your favourite thing to cook and why?

These questions are a chance for the interviewer to get to know you and your passion for cooking and not just who you are on paper. So make sure you're open and honest and tell them a little bit about your story and what motivates you.

Behavioural

  1. Give us an example of a time when faced a rush of orders in the kitchen. What did you do?
  2. Can you tell us about a time when you faced a challenging situation in the kitchen and how you approached it?

When behavioural questions are asked, the hiring manager wants to hear a specific example of a time when you faced a situation so they can understand how you work. So, channel your inner storyteller and talk about the situation you faced, the actions that you took and what the results of your efforts were. 

It always helps to think about what your biggest moments or proudest achievements were ahead of time so that you can draw on these more easily in the moment.

Observational

  1. Having taken a look around, what have you noticed about the business, team and kitchen environment? 
  2. Standing at the pass, what observations can you make about the menu and the types of dishes we serve?

Often when interviewing for a chef job, you’ll be shown around the kitchen and the business so that you can also get a feel for the environment that you would be working in. Here, they're looking to hear some comparisons to other kitchens you’ve worked in and are curious about how you'd handle things if you worked here, revealing your problem-solving skills in the kitchen.

Experience

  1. Can you share an achievement from a previous job that you're particularly proud of?
  2. How do you keep on top of health and safety guidelines?

It's all in the name - these questions uncover a bit more about your technical knowledge and are designed to help you display the right experience and skills for the job. This is your chance to stand out from other candidates in the mix and show off your know-how. Seize the spotlight!

Adding personality to your answers

Of course, you should keep it light and add a bit of humour where you can, but remember, an interview is about building trust with the hiring manager. You want to show that while you know how to have fun, you take pride in your work.

So, how else can you inject your personality?

  • Avoid overly rehearsing your answers.
  • Don't give straightforward answers. Tell the story.
  • Share personal values or experiences and how these align with the company's values.
  • Ask thoughtful questions that show your interest in the role and the company.

Keep these in mind, and you can be sure you'll leave a memorable impression.

How to beat any interview jitters

We know the word 'interview' can bring up some nervous feelings for people. They feel like a test and maybe take you back to your school years.

The best way to shake this feeling off is to reframe the interview. Think of it as a get-to-know-you chat. Sure, the hiring manager wants to know that you're a dab hand at prepping veg and check that you're hot on food hygiene but they've probably got a good idea of this from your previous kitchen jobs. What they don't know is how you might work alongside the team and if you'd live the company's values.

Say goodbye to those interview jitters, and remember to be yourself. Let that personality shine through!

Find your place in an M&B kitchen

Do you feel ready to step up to an interview with confidence? Well, don't let us hold you any longer.

Head to our chef job page or check out all available kitchen roles to find your local job. With pubs, bars and restaurants around the UK, you're never too far from an M&B chef job.

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