The interview is an opportunity for you to make an everlasting first impression. It is an opportunity to make a personality statement that speaks volumes about your expertise and commitment to career growth. If you have an upcoming interview as a restaurant cook and you are interested to know how to ace it like a pro, we have got your back. Keep reading this article as we are going to dig deep into the technicalities of certain questions the interviewer may ask and help you prepare great answers.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Job?
I am currently working in a domestic cuisine niche, and I am passionate about international cuisines. This job is a great opportunity to expand my horizon when it comes to international culinary skills. Another reason I am interested to work here is that this position offers me the opportunity to work with one of the top names when it comes to culinary arts. Such opportunities come once in a lifetime. Therefore, all in all, I am interested in this job offer as it ignites my curiosity, fuels my passion, and challenges me to become a better continental restaurant cook.
2. What Are The Roles Of A Restaurant Cook?
I think among many of the roles and responsibilities of a restaurant cook, these are the most crucial ones:
- A restaurant cook contributes a great deal to building a restaurant’s brand image as a delightful dine-in place to visit. He accomplishes this by bringing a blend of innovation, creativity, and taste together to prepare menus and meals that are treats for both, the tummy, and the eyes.
- The restaurant cook manages the culinary team. He mentors them and guides them to enhance their skills and prepare hygienic and finger-licking meals.
- Since a restaurant cook is dealing with people, managing the team, and creating a harmonious balance to manage the stress of the day is an important part of his role.
- Establishing great relations with the staff is not enough. A restaurant cook should be able to create great customer relationships as well as supplier relationships. The vendors are equally important to the business and the restaurant cook knows how to balance the stakeholder relationship.
- Plan menus, studying and creating signature recipes, waste management, and delegating responsibilities are also important aspects of the role of a restaurant cook.
3. What Are The Qualities A Restaurant Cook Needs To Be Successful?
The food industry is highly competitive. To establish a career as a great restaurant cook an individual should be able to stand out with a bunch of traits common to world-renowned restaurant cooks such as:
- Be Creative: Culinary art is a medium oozing with opportunities to be creative. A little touch of a keen sense of customers’ likes and dislikes combined with a creative mind would make you the salt bae at your workplace.
- Love What You Do: Passion is the key driver when it comes to career growth. If you are passionate about what you do then even preparing your own meals daily becomes an opportunity to practice, learn, and grow.
- Be a Good Listener: When you are dealing with the public one-on-one, it is important to listen to what they are saying because after all, you are in the business to satisfy their needs with your product or service.
- Be a Teams Person: A restaurant cook works with a diverse set of teams. A good restaurant cook has excellent interpersonal and communication skills to be an excellent team player.
- Absorb the Stress: Restaurant’s Kitchen is an intense and happening area. While the outside ambiance may be romantic and peaceful, the kitchen is always sizzling and hot. Therefore, a good restaurant cook knows how to work in stress and masters the art of stress management.
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?
The biggest challenge for the food industry, in general, came with the imposition of a global lockdown. It was hard to see the cheery ad joyous dine-in or dine-out places become deserted. I embarked on a journey to make a difference by practicing my culinary art to create gourmet meals for people in isolation due to Covid. We made a small setup to help lonely and covid struck people for free daily. It was a growing experience for me and my colleagues.
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Restaurant Cook?
Well, my day usually begins by arriving at work and checking all the sanitary protocols we follow as a team in the wake of covid. The most important task to be diligently performed as a Restaurant cook is to check inventory. Quality assurance of the fresh items needed daily for cooking and ensuring other necessary items are available for the day’s menu. We have daily tasks delegated to other restaurant cooks in the team. Once we begin preparation of essentials such as sauces and dips etc. I oversee each and every pan to ensure the quality and standard which our restaurant offers. Then of course, as the service begins there is a balance between overseeing the kitchen and checking with customers to have their feedback when they have tasted all courses.
6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience?
Since childhood, I loved to help in the kitchen. As a thanksgiving gesture, I would work in the soup house during the season to help prepare meals for the homeless. I took internships and shifts at a local motel as a cook during college until I landed my first actual job as a restaurant cook in a five-star hotel. It has been a roller coaster journey.
7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Are Required For This Role?
Analytical skills to understand the blend of spices and flavors to create a perfect dish is one aspect of this role while creating a healthy balance among the interests of all stakeholders that are part of the business is another critical aspect of this job. After all, a satisfied tummy and a happy supplier both are direct sources of marketing for the food business.
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge You Foresee In This Job?
Working with a professional and world-class restaurant cook and exotic ingredients are going to be the biggest challenges as well as a life-changing experience in this job. I have formerly worked with many other top-notch head restaurant cooks however, working with a MasterRestaurant cook winner and co-owner of the business is going to be a lot demanding. That is the kind of perfection I am looking forward to achieving as a restaurant cook.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated At Work?
I set goals that are important for my career growth and rejoice once I have achieved them. I enjoy the process of becoming someone inspiring and that itself is the biggest powerhouse of motivation. I believe that motivation towards work emanates from inside when you love what you do. I am a restaurant cook and I love every bit of it!
10. Describe A Time You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned?
Failure is as important as success. It helps you to grow and discover new ways of doing things. Sometimes we take failure too hard, and we suffer because we attach a negative notion to the term. I learned it the hard way. At the beginning of my career, I was rejected by many places I wanted to work at simply because of my inexperience. However, instead of waiting for the perfect opportunity to land, I started being happy and working hard where I was. It made failure an opportunity to grow.
11. Why Do You Feel You Are Qualified For This Role?
With my former experience, I think I have a polished set of great skills that would complement this role. I think I have developed enough professionalism in my personality to take this leap ahead and assume this top role. My previous experiences have prepared me for this kind of opportunity.
12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement
While I have won a couple of awards and have successfully created custom menus for gourmet chains, I consider my biggest achievement was helping people in isolation during covid get hygienic meals. It was satisfaction on another level. I still see people who meet me on the street and share how our effort made their quarantine easy and I feel great.
13. How Do You Ensure Hygienic Meal Preparations?
Every step towards hygiene starts with self. For me and my team, I ensure that personal hygiene is at par. I reinforce this practice by making myself a perfectionist when it comes to personal hygiene. Other than that I have done international food hygiene certification which is practiced in my kitchen.
14. Which Leadership Style Do You Adopt When You Handle Staff?
I think a Restaurant cook is more than his title. He is a leader and manager combined. With this in my mind, I adopt a democratic leadership style. I encourage junior restaurant cooks to bring innovation when it comes to recipes, and I encourage participative decision-making in my Kitchen. I want my staff to have the opportunity to grow on the job and learn as much as they can. When their creativity is encouraged, the kitchen is full of mouth-watering aromas and most perfect platted meals.
15. What Items Do You Recommend For A Restaurant To Stock As Emergency Food?
In case of emergency or shortage of food supply, a restaurant should stock a number of non-perishable food items that require less cooking and can be presented as great meals:
- Lentils – Turkish Lentil Soup is a simple yet subtle first-course item
- Water and oil in stock
- Salt and beans
- Canned vegetables
- Canned Fish
16. What Going To Be A Game Changer For Food Industry?
Well, Covid has raised many concerns regarding the viability of logistics and supply in many businesses. The other business models easily shifted to e-commerce because their businesses had invested in IT for years. Food chains should consider investing in IT to enhance their business models. The game-changer for the food industry could be AI marketing, and custom, contact-less delivery of robot prepared meals. But that is still a far cry. Human dependency on food chains is still hard to replace. People are particular about taste!
17. What In Your Opinion Today’s Consumer Needs?
Customer of the twenty-first century is well-informed. When he visits your restaurant for the first time, he has done his research, read your reviews, and heard about your restaurant from a peer which made him make a decision to visit and try your food. Therefore, the right marketing strategy along with a scrumptious menu o hand in hand to build your business. Restaurants should keep in mind that when a customer comes to have a meal in your restaurant he is not just there for the food. He is there for a good time, ambiance, and Instagram-able pictures that boost his social status and entertains his followers. Therefore, restaurants need more than just a happy meal to please their customers and make their revisit.
18. Would You Want To Have No-Experienced Staff In Your Team?
I am appreciative of young talent, and I believe if you see a spark in someone, it’s no harm to take the risk and let them onboard. With a little guidance, you may be helpful to kick start a career as a future world-renowned restaurant cook. My team should be a blend of novice and experienced so that we are able to balance things.
19. What Is Your Favorite Part Of Being A Restaurant Cook?
I love to see people happy. We associate our celebrations with good food. Food is an essential part of our joys and memories. I like that being a restaurant cook makes me make people’s happiest moments special and worth cherishing. Preparing meals is a life skill and what could be better than having a job that allows you to prepare and enjoy meals daily.
20. If You Have A Customer Who Is On Keto Diet And Requests To Keto Meal, But Your Restaurant Does Not Offer That On Menu, What Would You Do?
I think fitness is now a lifestyle and every restaurant should incorporate such customers. I would try to customize his meal but also register this request to make room in the menu for such future buyers. Customer is the king, and their needs are important. If they want keto meals, we must have a menu option for them. All restaurants should not only think about having keto on their menus but other special diet needs, for example, gluten-free meals.
21. Differentiate Between A Sauté Station And A Grill
We can use kitchen tools in diverse ways, but each has a specific purpose. The sauté station is perfect for cooking eggs, omelets, bacon, and other breakfast items while the grill is used for items like steaks or bbq or reheating Asian dishes.
22. How Can You Manage Conflict?
Conflict is a part of the managerial role a restaurant cook has to play. When there are people there is bound to be a difference of opinion that might not be handled well by people. When two people are aggravated it is best to remain calm, listen thoroughly, and offer a neutral way out that resolves rather than picking favorites.
23. How Will You Pitch The Paradigm Change?
It is hard to make the management agree to something they are not willing to agree to. Any new idea is a risk that is equally probable for success or failure. If I have to pitch the management, I will make my point clear by incorporating the monetary benefits and brand image-related perks that could be achieved through the suggested paradigm shift.
24. How Well Do You Know About Marketing?
Restaurant cooks are real-time marketers. They promote your business through WOM and by establishing great business relations.
25. Can You Give Poor Performance Feedback To Your Team Member?
I believe that constructive criticism is necessary to ensure your team is constantly evolving for future challenges. I can communicate negative and positive feedback in an amicable manner. In case my team member lags in performance I would take a private conversation to communicate the expectations from that employee and his current lacking to give him a fair chance to improve.
Hopefully, this article covers most of the questions an employer may ask his future restaurant cook. If you too are passionate about your career as a restaurant cook, you might be interested to know pre-hand what type of questions you might get in your upcoming interview. Well, these are the most commonly asked questions specific to your profession. Other than that your interviewer may shoot a bunch of other questions but, the key to answering every question is self-confidence. When you believe you deserve that job you would do wonders to make a remarkable first impression and ace that interview. Best of luck! Tell us which of these questions helped you in your interview.