Like working in a commercial kitchen as an executive chef? If you have decided to choose and excel in this as your career choice then we are here to assist you! You already have the talent and skills required for this job. You only need to share it in your interview now. This article is going to help you in preparing for the interview along with its challenges and job description too. Here we are sharing Top Executive Chef Interview Questions and Answers that will be will helpful.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
I am passionate about cooking. I believe food and spices help me to shine through. I have been in this line for 6 years and now I believe it’s my time to design a menu at your restaurant and train the staff together with me. I believe that my talent can be in sync with your restaurant’s ambiance and the cuisine you want to offer here.
2. What Are The Roles Of The Executive Chefs?
Executive chefs are the ones who will be in charge of the food, staff, and finances. They are responsible for overseeing all aspects of the kitchen. A chef is a person who has a high degree of knowledge in cooking and the culinary arts. They are also responsible for planning menus, ordering food supplies, and purchasing equipment.
3. What Are The Qualities That an Executive Chef Needs To Be Successful?
The first quality that an executive chef needs are leadership skills – they need to be able to lead a team, motivate them, and inspire them so that they can perform well. They also need to have creativity, which will help them come up with new ideas for dishes and come up with new recipes for their customers.
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?
In my recent role, the executive chef had to urgently take an unannounced leave due to a family emergency. Since I have been trained under her, She requested me to look after her while she was away. I had never been solely in charge before and it was my first time. After she left, I reminded myself not to panic because we were expecting a full house due to a holiday. I involved the rest of the chefs to join me in this task while she is away. We were able to pull up the standard like her as the guests kept joining us throughout the hours. We also received appreciation for one of the dessert dishes that we offered as a chef’s special. I believe with a good team and problem-solving skills, I was able to perform well.
5. Describe Your Daily Routine as an Executive Chef?
Some days are spent prepping and cooking, while others are spent on the phone with suppliers, meeting with managers, or even out in the field to scout for new locations. I typically start my day by checking emails and reviewing any orders or requests that came in overnight. After this, I head to the kitchen to see what needs to be prepped for lunch, dinner, and tomorrow’s menu items. At work, I would spend time doing one of two things- either working on recipes, coordinating with suppliers, or managing staff.
6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience?
I did my culinary degree from a renowned culinary school. In my last semester, I took up an internship in one of the restaurants in the city. It was my first exposure to a professional course. Unfortunately, when my internship ended, I did not have a job to join. It took me a few weeks to find a job in my area but during this time, I took 3-week certification in food safety at the same institute. I joined as a kitchen assistant where I learned the basics of purchasing and menu planning along with health codes. Later, I was promoted to sous chef based on my expertise and passion in the field.
7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Are Required For This Role?
Like every other job, the only mindset that promises success is hard work. I remember putting long hours into my job when I became a kitchen assistant in my career’s start. With practice and learning, I was able to perform well. Yes, I did fail many times but I made sure that I don’t stop any time. With practice and patience in my work, I was able to define my cooking style in my first kitchen. I remember that I burnt a lot of steaks and even undercooked many to know how to cook a medium-rare one!
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge You Foresee In This Job?
The biggest challenge is foreseeing in this role is customer expectations. It is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to this industry because every customer is different from one another but the dish I am making is consistently the same. I believe that If I can train my fellow staff in the kitchen, I can achieve a good reputation. I plan to work on the efficiency of the team as we work so that I can instill loyalty in my customers so that they often visit us.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated At Work?
The job is demanding and requires a lot of creativity and stamina. It can be difficult to stay motivated when I have to work long hours in a high-pressure environment. To stay motivated at work, I make sure that I am taking care of my health and getting the right amount of sleep. I normally do not function well if I don’t get enough sleep. In my free time, I also head to my gym for some exercise and enjoy some time with my friends.
10. Describe A Time You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned?
Once, I was given a chance to hire entry-level people for my team. I remember taking interviews and I ended up hiring a fellow who had a lot of potential in his skillset and talent but had some behavioral issues. He would not show up on time and was always using his mobile phone while cooking at the station. The unprofessional behavior made the owner of the restaurant fire them and I was questioned about my decision-making skills. I apologized for ignoring the red flags during the period and I did learn to be more careful and not to rush. I learned to speak to my seniors at work if I was seeing a pattern in the kitchen. I was able to learn how important each hiring is especially when it’s not a solo show in the kitchen. I am glad that my seniors believed in me even after the low and I got to interview more candidates who were such an add-on power in our team.
11. Why Do You Feel You Are Qualified For This Role?
I believe that I am a good combination of both talent and skill when it comes to being a chef. I have developed qualities like multitasking, attention to detail, and an understanding of cleanliness throughout my cooking. I have learned great things during my career and I do believe that I can train my team on culinary expertise and techniques as we all progress as a team in the kitchen.
12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement
I have won the award of rising star chef of the year last year by the state. I was nominated based on the creation of a new dish that was a mixture of vegetables and fruits that are highly recommended for diabetic patients. I knew dietary supplements for diabetic patients since my father is a patient already. I grew up learning a lot about this illness and how important is the role of food in this. I have been learning all these years about food combinations that can be served to everyone that are beneficial to their health but also perfect in taste too.
13. What Is A Sous Chef?
The Sous Chef is the second in charge. He or she is a hands-on person; they do all the day-to-day management of the kitchen, are almost always in the kitchen, and spend very little time in the office. The Sous Chef’s role as expeditor is to be the last checkpoint between kitchen and customer, ensuring that the restaurant’s high standard of food and timely delivery is being made.
14. To Train, Your Team, What Qualities Are Important For This Role?
In my opinion, culinary skills are not the only qualities required for this role. In a kitchen, there are several administrative and managerial skills too. I always train my staff to control the food supply as per the cost and budget allotted. To train well, I use my communication skills to have alignment with my team during the whole day. I also train them to pay attention to detail while making a dish. They must understand its importance because to create the desired dish, one must know the quantity of cooking ingredients along with its science to produce a good dish.
15. What Is The Role Of The Station Chef At The End Of The Day?
After the last meal has been served to the customer, the station chef has to keep away all the extra products, clean the grills and the knives, and simply any other tool that he made use of while cooking throughout the day. So, the Station Chef’s task also includes keeping his station clean, abiding by all the hygiene standards.
16. How Well Do You Handle Criticism At Work?
To become a great chef, all culinary professionals should be able to handle criticism. A variety of people come to dine at the restaurant. It is not essential that each one of the guests would appreciate the dish. So, I make sure that I positively take criticisms. I learn from every day’s feedback and I make sure that if I am doing any mistakes, I do not repeat them.
17. What Is Garde Manager?
The garden manager creates all the cold food presentations: fruit and vegetable salads, pates, canapés- anything cold for the table. The garden manager chef makes all vinaigrettes and dressings in addition to molded aspics, pickled vegetables, chutneys, and relishes.
18. What Is A Certified Master Chef?
A Master Chef is a professionally certified chef who has received the title of Certified Master-Chef – an honor which is held by less than 100 people in the USA. This certification is given out only to those chefs who have received a lot of training and have demonstrated a recognizable level of excellence in culinary arts programs. The chefs are tested on subjects that include skills and techniques involved in cooking, use of ingredients in cooking, presentation of the food, the timing of service, safety and sanitation involved in the maintenance of a restaurant. After the course is completed, there is a final test that the chef must pass.
19. Why Is Culinary Education Important When Culinaryitself Is An Art?
In my opinion, it’s a science too! I might be born with the cooking talent like all artists but to excel in the field, I need to learn the science of food too. One must know about the ingredients they are using while cooking. You should also have a thorough knowledge of the contents of the ingredients or additives you use to cook food. It helps you to be an informed chef.
20. What Is The Difference Between Boning Knife And Slicer?
A boning knife is used to separate the uncooked meat from the bone. It is a basic essential knife in the kitchen if you are to work with meat dishes. On the other hand, Slicer is used for meat presentation in a cooked dish. It has a long and flexible blade that creates beautiful cuts in cooked meat.
21. What’s Your Opinion Regarding Nutrition In Cooking?
Nutrition is also an important aspect of cooking delicious foods. And chefs are not an exception to this rule. While pursuing their education in the culinary arts, one of the subjects that these aspiring chefs study is Nutrition. Here, they learn about the number of nutritive elements present in each ingredient – and how to analyze and determine which foods have how much nutritive value.
22. How Do You Keep Good Relation With Vendors For Food Supply?
I make sure that I am in touch with all vendors personally. This helps me in knowing all sorts of new products and good pricing that plays an important part in the budget. In my previous role, I have been constantly in touch with the food suppliers at least on weekly basis or fortnightly. I believe I have made some great connections at that side of the table.
23. What Is Your Learning In Food Safety And Food Handling?
In my kitchen, I always prepare all food according to the safety guidelines and temperature recommendations. Sometimes a customer requests a special way for their food. I always make sure that we only serve food that is safe as per guidelines and best practices. I learned the basics during my certification but with my experience, I have learned the practical side of it too.
24. What Is Cross Contamination And How To Avoid It In Kitchen?
Cross-contamination is when you taint one piece of food from the germs coming from another bit of food. The easiest example is that you chop up a chicken on your cutting board and then cut up veggies for your salad on the same board. At this point, you have contaminated all of your ready-to-eat food products with salmonella which demands you to either toss them or cook them to at the very least 165°. Instead, the smarter option is to utilize different cutting boards for raw meat and ready-to-eat foods.
25. How Do You Disinfect Countertops?
My go-to help is chlorine bleach in this regard. It’s not only affordable but also efficient against all other varieties. The proportion against normal water is very important. I use 1 tsp in 1 quarter of tap water. If used a lot, I use a moistened towel if required. All you need to do is squirt, wipe and leave. I like to clean up and spray down my refrigerator monthly. Also, I will spray down all the cooking areas every single night after I’m done cooking food – this means all of the countertops, cutting boards, and stove-tops.
Be confident and smile as you give your interview. Share real-life examples as they tell a lot about your skill set apart from the culinary knowledge you got from your school. These 25 questions are surely going to help in acing the first round of interviews as an executive chef. Good luck!