405 Questions to Ask a Chef in an Interview

405 Questions to Ask a Chef in an Interview

Curious about the magic that happens in the kitchen? If you’ve got a chef interview coming up, it’s all about asking the right questions that dig deep. From their favorite ingredients to their career goals, get ready to discover what really spices up a chef’s life. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

  • About Cooking Style
  • About Menus And Specials
  • About Ingredients And Sourcing
  • About Culinary Trends
  • About Customer Experience
  • About Inspirations And Influences
  • About Kitchen Management
  • About Background And Training
  • About Career Goals And Aspirations
  • Frequently Asked Questions
    • How should I prepare for the interview?
    • How can I make the chef comfortable during the interview?
  • Conclusion

About Cooking Style

  1. How would you describe your cooking style?
  2. What’s your signature dish?
  3. Do you like to experiment in the kitchen?
  4. What are your thoughts on fusion cooking?
  5. How do you feel about following recipes vs. improvising?
  6. How do you make a simple dish stand out?
  7. Do you have a favorite cooking technique?
  8. What are your thoughts on molecular gastronomy?
  9. How important is presentation to you?
  10. What’s your favorite season for cooking, and why?
  11. How do you add your personal touch to a dish?
  12. How do you feel about comfort food?
  13. Do you prefer cooking sweet or savory dishes?
  14. What’s your opinion on farm-to-table?
  15. How do you feel about organic food?
  16. How do you adjust cooking styles for different clients?
  17. What’s your take on street food?
  18. What are your thoughts on fast food?
  19. How do you handle cooking under time constraints?
  20. Do you enjoy collaborating with other chefs?
  21. How do you feel about the use of spices in cooking?
  22. What’s your approach to healthy cooking?
  23. How do you adapt to cooking for kids?
  24. What are your thoughts on the importance of a good sauce?
  25. What do you think about cooking for large events?
  26. What’s the most important thing about cooking for you?
  27. Do you prefer cooking for small or large groups?
  28. What are your thoughts on meal prepping?
  29. How do you approach creating a new dish from scratch?
  30. What’s your go-to dish when you’re in a rush?
  31. Do you think traditional cooking methods are outdated?
  32. How important is texture in your dishes?
  33. What do you think of the “less is more” approach to cooking?
  34. How do you balance different flavors in a dish?
  35. How do you feel about using kitchen gadgets like air fryers or Instant Pots?
  36. What’s your strategy for cooking multiple dishes at once?
  37. Do you enjoy creating your own recipes?
  38. How do you feel about recreating classic dishes with a twist?
  39. What are your thoughts on plant-based meats?
  40. How do you make your dishes visually appealing?
  41. What are your thoughts on interactive dishes where the eater participates in the final preparation?
  42. How do you test a new recipe before adding it to the menu?
  43. Do you have a favorite cooking show, and does it influence your style?
  44. How do you feel about cooking dishes from cultures different from your own?
  45. What are your thoughts on low and slow cooking methods like smoking or braising?
  46. Do you enjoy working with fermented foods?
  47. How do you approach cooking for special occasions like holidays or weddings?
  48. What are your thoughts on serving dishes family-style versus plated?
  49. How do you ensure consistency in your dishes?
  50. How do you incorporate sweet and savory elements in a single dish?
  51. Do you have experience cooking vegan or vegetarian dishes?
  52. What’s your take on popular diets like Keto or Paleo?
  53. How do they influence your cooking?
  54. How do you feel about deconstructed dishes?
  55. What role do side dishes play in your cooking style?
  56. How do you feel about raw dishes like sushi or steak tartare?
  57. What’s your approach to pairing beverages with your dishes?

About Menus And Specials

  1. How do you decide what goes on the menu?
  2. How often do you change or update the menu?
  3. How do you price dishes on the menu?
  4. What’s your approach to creating daily or weekly specials?
  5. How do you balance classic dishes and new offerings on the menu?
  6. How do you cater to customers with dietary restrictions?
  7. Do you collaborate with front-of-house staff for menu decisions?
  8. What’s your strategy for creating a well-rounded menu?
  9. How do you decide on portion sizes?
  10. What’s your approach to food and drink pairings?
  11. How do you make your menu stand out from competitors?
  12. How do you decide which dishes to retire from the menu?
  13. How do you handle dishes that aren’t selling well?
  14. Do you involve the kitchen staff in menu planning?
  15. How do you keep the menu interesting for regular customers?
  16. Do you offer seasonal menus?
  17. How do you calculate the cost of goods sold for your menu items?
  18. What are your strategies for dealing with fluctuating ingredient prices?
  19. Do you use any software or technology for menu planning?
  20. How do you design the physical layout of the menu?
  21. Do you offer kid-friendly options on the menu?
  22. How do you decide on menu descriptions and naming?
  23. What are your strategies for promoting new menu items?
  24. Do you offer catering menus or special event menus?
  25. How do you ensure menu items meet food safety standards?
  26. What’s your process for photographing dishes for the menu or social media?
  27. How do you handle menu translations for international customers?
  28. Do you offer combo meals or set menus?
  29. How do you work with the marketing team on menu promotions?
  30. What’s your approach to creating a dessert menu?
  31. How do you make sure menu items are visually appealing?
  32. Do you have experience creating menus for themed nights or events?
  33. How do you determine the menu’s balance of meat and vegetarian dishes?
  34. Do you plan for take-out or delivery options when creating a menu?
  35. How do you source inspiration for new menu items?
  36. Do you ever collaborate with other chefs on special menus?
  37. How do you measure the success of a new menu item?
  38. What are your thoughts on “secret menus”?
  39. How often do you update beverage menus in relation to food menus?
  40. What strategies do you use to upsell more expensive menu items?

About Ingredients And Sourcing

  1. Where do you source your ingredients from?
  2. How do you select the best produce?
  3. What’s the most underrated ingredient, in your opinion?
  4. Do you have a preferred meat supplier?
  5. How do you keep up with seasonal ingredients?
  6. How do you feel about using pre-made ingredients?
  7. Do you use alternative ingredients for common allergens like nuts or gluten?
  8. How important is it to use local ingredients?
  9. What’s your favorite ingredient to work with?
  10. Do you grow any of your own ingredients?
  11. What are your tips for choosing fresh seafood?
  12. How do you make sure your ingredients are sustainable?
  13. Do you have any experience with foraging?
  14. What’s your opinion on organic vs. non-organic ingredients?
  15. How do you keep your pantry stocked?
  16. What are your go-to spices?
  17. How do you check the quality of your ingredients?
  18. Do you use any unusual ingredients regularly?
  19. What are your must-have pantry items?
  20. How do you decide which suppliers to work with?
  21. Do you use seasonal ingredients?
  22. What’s your policy on using frozen ingredients?
  23. How do you feel about GMO foods?
  24. What are the most overrated ingredients, in your opinion?
  25. How do you keep ingredients fresh?
  26. How do you deal with ingredient shortages?
  27. What are the best budget-friendly ingredients?
  28. How do you adapt when a key ingredient is missing?
  29. Do you have experience sourcing international ingredients?
  30. What are your tips for making a dish taste rich without expensive ingredients?
  31. How important are the quality of oils and fats you use?
  32. Do you have any favorite vegetarian or vegan ingredients?
  33. What’s your approach to using herbs in your dishes?
  34. Do you have a preferred type of salt?
  35. What’s your opinion on using artificial flavors or colors in dishes?
  36. Do you have a preferred kind of oil for cooking?
  37. How do you source your eggs and poultry?
  38. What’s your take on using exotic ingredients?
  39. Do you collaborate with local farmers or food producers?
  40. How do you feel about the “eat local” movement?
  41. What are your tips for picking high-quality grains?
  42. How do you ensure the ethical sourcing of your ingredients?
  43. Do you prefer using fresh herbs or dried herbs?
  44. Do you have a favorite type of mushroom to cook with?
  45. What’s your view on frozen vegetables versus fresh?
  46. Do you prefer sea salt, kosher salt, or another type?
  47. How do you pick a good wine or alcohol for cooking?
  48. How important is the ripeness of fruit when you cook?
  49. What are your thoughts on canned seafood like tuna or sardines?
  50. How do you decide when to use butter versus oil?
  51. How do you incorporate superfoods into your dishes?

About Culinary Trends

  1. How do you stay updated on the latest culinary trends?
  2. What are some emerging food trends you’re excited about?
  3. How do you feel about the trend of farm-to-table dining?
  4. What’s your take on fusion cuisine?
  5. How do you incorporate trending flavors or ingredients into your dishes?
  6. Have you ever experimented with molecular gastronomy?
  7. How do you feel about the growing popularity of plant-based diets?
  8. What are your thoughts on food delivery services and their impact on the industry?
  9. How do you approach the zero-waste trend in cooking?
  10. Do you think “Instagrammable” dishes are essential for a restaurant’s success?
  11. How do you feel about fast-casual versus fine dining trends?
  12. What’s your take on the rise of food trucks?
  13. How do you view the trend of interactive dining experiences?
  14. Have you ever included “superfoods” in your menu due to their popularity?
  15. What are your thoughts on meal kits and their impact on home cooking?
  16. How do you feel about the influence of global cuisines on local dining scenes?
  17. What’s your stance on the trend of small plates or tapas-style dining?
  18. Do you use any trending cooking techniques, like sous-vide?
  19. How do you handle the trend toward health-conscious dining?
  20. Have you considered including more gluten-free or allergen-friendly options due to consumer demand?
  21. How do you feel about the trend of alcoholic mocktails?
  22. What are your thoughts on the rising popularity of natural wines?
  23. Do you think seasonal or limited-time offerings are effective?
  24. How do you approach the trend of experiential dining?
  25. Have you ever adapted your menu to include “trendy” international dishes?
  26. What are your thoughts on DIY or customizable dishes?
  27. How do you react to negative culinary trends or fads?
  28. Do you think traditional cooking methods are making a comeback?
  29. What are your thoughts on alternative proteins like insects?
  30. Are there any food presentation trends you’re excited about?
  31. What’s your take on global fusion dishes that mix different cuisines?
  32. Do you think culinary trends differ significantly from city to city or country to country?
  33. What’s your opinion on the trend towards hyper-local ingredients?
  34. What’s your view on the role of social media in setting or spreading food trends?
  35. Are there any drink trends that you think pair well with current food trends, like craft cocktails or mocktails?
  36. Do you pay attention to food trend predictions? If so, how do they influence your planning?
  37. What past trends are you glad are over, and what are you excited about coming next?
  38. What are your thoughts on the rise of meal kit delivery services?
  39. Do you think that comfort food is making a comeback, especially with the stresses of modern life?
  40. Are there any beverage trends that you think deserve more attention, like specialty teas or natural wines?
  41. How do you feel about the impact of technology on culinary trends, like cooking apps or AI?

About Customer Experience

  1. How do you handle special requests or dietary restrictions from customers?
  2. How do you ensure a consistent dining experience for every customer?
  3. What role do you think the chef plays in customer satisfaction?
  4. Do you interact with customers directly, such as table visits?
  5. How do you handle negative customer reviews or feedback?
  6. Do you think customer surveys are helpful in improving the dining experience?
  7. How do you train your staff to enhance customer experience?
  8. What’s your strategy for busy nights to maintain a high-quality experience?
  9. How do you handle long wait times for tables or food?
  10. Do you have any strategy to make special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries memorable for customers?
  11. How do you accommodate families or large groups?
  12. Do you offer any loyalty programs or incentives to encourage repeat visits?
  13. How do you ensure quick and efficient service without sacrificing food quality?
  14. How do you handle a situation where a customer sends a dish back?
  15. Do you believe in the saying, “The customer is always right”?
  16. How do you make sure the front-of-house staff understands the menu well?
  17. Do you use customer feedback to make changes to the menu?
  18. How do you manage customer expectations for new or experimental dishes?
  19. What’s your process for dealing with customer complaints in real time?
  20. How do you create a unique and memorable dining experience?
  21. How important is food presentation in customer experience?
  22. Do you think the speed of service impacts the overall customer experience?
  23. How do you ensure that your team delivers excellent customer service?
  24. How important is the overall ambiance in customer satisfaction?
  25. Do you have experience managing online reservations and how they affect customer experience?
  26. How do you feel about upselling and its impact on customer experience?
  27. What’s your approach to managing customer flow during peak hours?
  28. Do you think a chef should adapt their style based on customer feedback?
  29. How do you handle diverse cultural expectations in terms of dining?
  30. How do you maintain quality when dealing with high volumes of take-out or delivery orders?

About Inspirations And Influences

  1. Who inspired you to become a chef?
  2. What cookbooks or culinary texts have had the most impact on you?
  3. Are there any chefs you look up to or consider mentors?
  4. What’s the first dish you remember cooking that excites you about being a chef?
  5. How has your cultural background influenced your cooking style?
  6. What is the most memorable meal you have ever had and why?
  7. What’s the best piece of advice you ever got from another chef?
  8. Who was your biggest influence in the kitchen?
  9. Have you traveled to other countries for culinary inspiration?
  10. How do you find inspiration when creating new dishes?
  11. What TV shows, movies or other media inspire you in your cooking?
  12. Do you follow any food blogs or social media accounts for inspiration?
  13. How do your personal beliefs or values influence your cooking?
  14. How do you incorporate traditional cooking techniques into your style?
  15. How significant is seasonality to your inspiration?
  16. Are there any ingredients or flavors that you find particularly inspiring?
  17. How do you keep your passion for cooking alive during stressful times?
  18. Do you ever collaborate with other chefs for inspiration?
  19. How does local culture influence your menu choices?
  20. Are there culinary trends you find particularly inspiring or interesting?
  21. What part of the cooking process is most inspiring to you?
  22. How does customer feedback influence your inspiration?
  23. Do you find inspiration in art or other fields outside of cooking?
  24. Are there any culinary schools or training programs that inspired you?
  25. How do you balance tradition and innovation in your cooking?
  26. Are you inspired by sustainable or ethical cooking practices?
  27. Have you ever faced criticism that ended up inspiring you?
  28. How do you keep up-to-date with new ingredients in the market?
  29. What is the most challenging dish you’ve ever made that inspired you to grow as a chef?
  30. Do you find inspiration in limitations, like budget or dietary restrictions?
  31. Are there particular food markets or regions that inspire you?
  32. Are there any local chefs you admire or have influenced your work?
  33. Have you been inspired by any historical figures in the culinary world?
  34. What kinds of music or other art forms motivate you in the kitchen?
  35. Is there a culinary experience that changed how you think about food?
  36. Do you find inspiration from non-culinary fields like science or history?
  37. Has your family’s cooking style or recipes influenced your own?
  38. Are there any food critics whose opinions you highly respect?
  39. What role do local farmers or suppliers have in inspiring your menus?
  40. Has participating in culinary competitions influenced your cooking style or career path?
  41. Do you find inspiration in any specific landscapes or locations, like the ocean or countryside?
  42. Are there certain smells or textures in food that particularly inspire you?
  43. How has working under pressure or constraints often made you more creative?
  44. What role has mentorship played in shaping your culinary vision?
  45. What’s the role of family and friends in your culinary inspiration?

About Kitchen Management

  1. How do you handle staff training in the kitchen?
  2. How do you deal with employee conflicts or drama?
  3. What’s your approach to kitchen safety?
  4. How do you manage kitchen inventory?
  5. How do you assign roles in the kitchen?
  6. What’s your method for quality control?
  7. How do you handle kitchen emergencies, like equipment breaking down?
  8. Do you have experience with hiring and firing kitchen staff?
  9. How do you keep the kitchen clean during a busy shift?
  10. How do you motivate your team during long and stressful shifts?
  11. What’s your system for checking food temperatures?
  12. What’s your strategy for peak dining hours?
  13. How do you deal with a staff shortage?
  14. How do you accommodate staff members with different levels of experience?
  15. How do you ensure good communication in the kitchen?
  16. How do you deal with health inspections?
  17. How familiar are you with kitchen management software?
  18. Do you have experience managing budgets?
  19. How do you track kitchen performance metrics?
  20. How do you manage supply ordering?
  21. How do you handle customer complaints about food?
  22. How do you ensure all dishes go out on time?
  23. How do you manage staff schedules?
  24. How do you ensure all kitchen equipment is maintained?
  25. How do you handle last-minute changes in bookings or reservations?
  26. What are your strategies for reducing kitchen costs?
  27. How do you deal with suppliers who deliver sub-par ingredients?
  28. How do you plan for holiday rushes or special events?
  29. How do you ensure kitchen staff follow food safety guidelines?
  30. Do you hold regular team meetings to discuss kitchen operations?
  31. How do you plan for equipment upgrades or replacements?
  32. How do you incorporate sustainability practices in the kitchen?
  33. What’s your approach to onboarding new staff members?
  34. How do you handle staff who consistently underperform?
  35. How do you prioritize tasks during a shift?
  36. What strategies do you use for energy conservation in the kitchen?
  37. Do you have any training methods for improving knife skills among your team?
  38. What role do you play in staff meetings, and how do you make them effective?
  39. Do you have experience handling catering events?
  40. What’s your system for rotating stock to prevent spoilage?
  41. How do you manage special requests from diners?
  42. Do you have any experience with pop-up kitchens?
  43. How do you address language barriers within the kitchen staff?
  44. Do you have experience working with a multicultural team?
  45. What’s your approach to cross-training staff in different roles?
  46. How do you handle reviews and feedback for your team?
  47. How do you create a positive work culture in the kitchen?

About Background And Training

  1. How did you get into cooking?
  2. Did you go to culinary school?
  3. How long have you been cooking professionally?
  4. Have you worked under any famous chefs?
  5. What was your first job in the food industry?
  6. What types of restaurants have you worked in?
  7. Have you ever had to manage a kitchen before?
  8. What’s the biggest kitchen team you’ve led?
  9. Have you ever failed in a cooking role? What happened?
  10. How do you keep up with new cooking techniques?
  11. What’s the most challenging dish you’ve ever made?
  12. Do you have experience cooking different types of cuisine?
  13. Have you ever worked abroad?
  14. What are your certifications in food safety?
  15. What cooking tools can you not live without?
  16. Have you won any cooking awards?
  17. Do you have any experience with menu planning?
  18. How do you handle stressful situations in the kitchen?
  19. What was the last cooking book you read?
  20. Do you follow any chefs on social media?
  21. How do you stay motivated in the kitchen?
  22. Have you taught cooking classes?
  23. Do you have any experience with catering?
  24. What part of the kitchen are you most comfortable in?
  25. How do you handle kitchen conflicts?
  26. Have you ever helped open a new restaurant?
  27. What’s the longest shift you’ve ever worked?
  28. Do you have any experience with special diets like gluten-free or vegan?
  29. Why did you decide to become a chef?
  30. Have you ever worked in a food truck?
  31. Do you have experience in baking along with cooking?
  32. Did you have any jobs in the food industry that weren’t cooking roles?
  33. What was the hardest part of your culinary training?
  34. Have you taken any cooking courses online?
  35. Do you mentor young chefs or kitchen staff?
  36. Have you ever written for food or cooking publications?
  37. Do you have a food blog or YouTube cooking channel?
  38. Have you appeared in any cooking shows or competitions?
  39. Do you have a specialty, like pastries or grill work?
  40. Have you worked in a fast-paced kitchen, like fast food or a busy diner?
  41. How do you feel about repetitive tasks, like chopping vegetables all day?
  42. How did you get your first big break in the cooking world?
  43. Have you ever been a personal chef?
  44. Do you have experience with menu pricing?
  45. Do you have any experience cooking on a cruise ship or in a resort?
  46. What’s the most remote or unique place you’ve ever cooked?
  47. How familiar are you with different kitchen equipment brands?
  48. Have you ever had to adapt to new technology in the kitchen?
  49. Do you have any experience with dietary restrictions like halal or kosher cooking?

About Career Goals And Aspirations

  1. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
  2. Do you have plans to write a cookbook or start a food blog?
  3. Are there specific culinary skills or techniques you want to master?
  4. Do you aspire to own your own restaurant one day?
  5. What are your goals in terms of awards or recognition?
  6. Are there any cuisines you desire to learn more about?
  7. How do you plan to expand your culinary knowledge?
  8. Do you have any entrepreneurial goals related to the food industry?
  9. Would you like to venture into TV shows or YouTube channels?
  10. What steps are you taking to achieve your career goals?
  11. Are there any charities or social causes you aspire to work with?
  12. Do you plan to specialize in any particular type of cooking?
  13. Are you interested in teaching or mentoring in the future?
  14. Would you like to explore other roles in the restaurant industry, like becoming a sommelier or restaurant manager?
  15. What’s your ultimate career goal in the culinary world?
  16. How do you measure success in your career?
  17. Do you see yourself participating in culinary competitions?
  18. Are there upcoming food trends you want to be a part of?
  19. How do you intend to balance work and personal life in your career?
  20. Are you interested in food research or development?
  21. What new cuisines or cooking techniques are on your bucket list to explore?
  22. Are you considering expanding your skills to include pastry or dessert-making?
  23. Do you have any goals related to sustainability or local sourcing?
  24. Are you considering any further formal education or courses?
  25. Do you see yourself as a future influencer in the culinary community?
  26. Would you consider international opportunities to expand your career?
  27. How do you plan to manage stress and workload as you achieve your career goals?
  28. Are you interested in diving into the digital aspect of food, like apps or technology?
  29. What legacy do you want to leave in the culinary world?
  30. Do you have any retirement plans related to the culinary field?
  31. How do you plan to adapt to the ever-changing culinary landscape?
  32. Are you interested in exploring food writing or journalism?
  33. Do you have plans to collaborate with food brands or products?
  34. Are you considering getting involved in food policy or advocacy work?
  35. Are you interested in exploring the beverage side of the industry, like coffee or mixology?
  36. Would you like to work in multiple countries to broaden your culinary experience?
  37. Do you have an exit strategy if you decide to leave the culinary field?
  38. Are you considering passing down your skills to a younger generation, maybe through a family business?
  39. Are you considering consulting opportunities within the restaurant industry?
  40. Do you plan to leverage social media to achieve your career goals?
  41. Are you interested in participating in or organizing culinary events or food festivals?
  42. Do you have any aspirations to be featured in or produce a documentary related to food?
  43. What’s your plan for handling economic downturns or crises in the restaurant industry?
  44. Do you have any goals related to wellness and health, either personally or in your cooking style?
  45. Are there any famous restaurants you dream of working at?

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I prepare for the interview?

Preparation is key to making the interview useful for both you and the chef. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Research: Look up the chef’s background, style, and any recent news about them.
  2. Plan Questions: Make a list of questions you want to ask based on what you’ve learned and what you think the audience will find interesting.
  3. Set the mood: Know where the interview will take place and ensure it’s a comfortable setting for a chat.
  4. Equipment check: If you’re recording the interview, test your equipment beforehand to ensure everything works.
  5. Be ready to listen: Prepare yourself to really listen, not just ask questions. This will help you follow up on exciting points the chef makes.

How can I make the chef comfortable during the interview?

Good rapport makes for a better interview. Start with lighter questions, maintain eye contact, and show genuine interest in their answers.

Tip: Smile, nod, and give verbal cues to show you're engaged.


Whether you’re a foodie, an aspiring home cook, or just plain curious, these questions are your golden ticket to getting a full plate of understanding about a chef’s world. So next time you get to chat with a chef, you’ll be ready to stir up a conversation as memorable as the meal.

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