Kitchens are characterized by an adrenalin rush. Expectations are always high and time is low. Everyone has their hands full but just before you take a much-needed rest, you need to service a large order. Welcome to the world of a Sous Chef.
In the interview, you need to prove more than great cooking skills. You should demonstrate creativity, imagination, stress management, excellent communication, and leadership skills. Check below on the questions you would expect to meet in the interview.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
“Having gone through the job description I feel my skills and experience match the job requirement. I have a diverse range of skills, and qualifications which can be helpful in attaining organizational objectives. Through this opportunity, I will explore multiple cuisines based on the different clientele served by this hotel chain. I believe it will be mutually fulfilling as I get to learn while serving sumptuous dishes to our clients.”
2. What Are The Roles Of A Sous Chef?
The interviewer is interested to know if you can relate the roles to the job description of the advertisement. Share the roles you expect to play.
“The Sous Chef has a responsibility in directing the food preparation process and delegating tasks, cooking and preparing high-quality dishes. She has the responsibility of assisting the Head Chef to create menu items, recipes, and developing dishes. The Sous Chef plays a supervisory role in all kitchen stations and processes, motivating and working closely with other cooks. Through supervision, she has a responsibility of health and safety in the working environment based on the food and hygiene practices by ensuring the kitchen meets regulations including sanitary and food safety guidelines. In addition, he/she should ensure quality and excellent food preparation standards in all dishes and assist with determining food inventory needs, stocking and ordering.”
3. What Are The Qualities That A Sous Chef Need To Be Successful?
This role requires a bubbly personality. The interviewer wants to establish whether you can articulate the qualities needed for this role. Share the qualities while keeping to the job description.
“The role requires a wide range of skills and a specific mindset. The rundown of the ingredients should be on the blueprint; this cooking skills on a wide range of dishes. This enhances him to jump into any part of the line when it’s missing a cook to speed up the process. Good organizational skills since tasks vary from time to time, he/she must be quick-thinking, adaptable, and calm under pressure. Leadership and communication skills are a driver in all the assignments. Reliable, competent, trustworthy, and loyal for the work assigned”
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?
Managing challenges is a key trait in any role. Share with the interviewer what challenges you have faced and how you mitigated them.
“In my previous role a customer was served a dish which he didn’t order, he was angry for the poor service. Through my communication and customer service skills, I personally apologized for the inconvenience caused. I requested that he is patient we make his order, and he agreed. He was happy after the meal and even left a tip for the cook.”
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Sous Chef?
The interviewer is interested to know what your day will be like. Share your expected routine tasks.
“The start of the shift is all about preparation. I ensure the kitchen is in order by taking inventory and requesting more supplies. I will ensure that cookware is up to standard and plan the employee schedule. During rush hour, I ensure that staff is operating at full effectiveness. If someone didn’t show up for work, or if the orders are coming in too quickly for the staff to handle efficiently, I step in and help. At dinner time, I will ensure my team is focused and ready. Customers need to be kept happy, the kitchen needs to quickly churn out good food, and the staff needs to be prompt. This is the time I need to keep an eye on every aspect. When I work the evening shift, it’s my role to make sure everything is thoroughly cleaned. It’s the time I will need. Plan the Chef’s special menu for the next day; make any orders for products and ingredients that you need. I will then close the day.”
6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience
The interviewer is interested in this information to determine if you are the right fit. Share your work experience and the skills you have developed that are important for this role.
“I have spent two years as a Sous Chef where my roles were to oversee overall kitchen operation at a successful independent profit center and ensure maximum guest satisfaction. This is through planning, organizing, directing, and controlling the Kitchen operations and administration. I am also experienced in menu preparation, costing, and final rollout. I am able to control food costs and wastages to ensure maximum profit for the hotel. Given this opportunity, I can be a key member in the team to assist to drive down costs while improving the hotel’s profit margins.”
7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?
Keep the job description in mind while answering this question. Try to relate the attributes of the job to the mindset and strategies you need.
“This role requires a world-class mindset and philosophy because you will handle guests from different places with varying taste palates. You need to be creative in order to translate the customer requirements into a sumptuous dish. You should be committed to the growth and success of the hotel.”
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Job?
Use this question to highlight your strengths. Share a challenge and explain how your strengths in the area will enable you to solve it.
“Given this role, the challenge that I foresee will be adjusting to the new working environment. I understand that this role requires serving multiple cuisines some of which I have the theory aspect but lack the practical bit. I plan to learn fast in order to meet the demands of the role. I will also maximize my skills in the areas I am best at. This will enable me to reach great professional standards while helping to achieve the organizational goals.”
9. How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Work?
What makes you tick? This could be a trick question. Connect this to the company’s goals and share how that motivates you. Go beyond the financial rewards attached to the position in your answer.
“I am motivated by exploring and developing new recipes. I am passionate about dish and recipe preparation. In my current position, I carry the role as a Sous Chef I do a quality evaluation, by balancing ingredients depending on the customer preferences on a daily basis. The role involves interacting with new customers and colleagues which enriches my knowledge and skills. In addition, I aim to stay up to date with market trends to ensure that I understand the industry’s trends well.”
10. Describe A Time When You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learnt?
The question needs to examine the past experience, which has successes and failures. Share the lessons you took from a past failure.
“In my previous role, a regular customer ordered a well-done beef steak. Since I had a number of preparations I ended up serving him Rare beef steak, which annoyed the customer and he wanted to walk away. I apologized to the customer and we offered him a free meal. From this, I learned an aspect of prioritization in any given task to mitigate issues that may arise. I learned the aspect of delegation of some assignments when am overwhelmed”
11. Why Do You Feel You Are The Most Suited For This Role?
You need to know what makes you stand out from other candidates. Use this chance to showcase your strengths and sell yourself well.
“I have a combination of skill set in both food quantity dishes and quality ingredients combined in food preparation process which is the perfect match for the job requirements. I am a strong communicator and a team player who helps when interacting with employees and customers. In particular, my planning skills and managerial experience make me an ideal candidate for the position. For example, in my last job, I managed a team of four chefs, and we had the top record where our restaurant became famous and the most preferred in the town from the quality of food we prepared. We had many customers resulting to demand which created a huge profit margin.”
12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement.
Achievements may determine if you are hired. The role requires an organized, innovative, and committed individual to deliver results.
“In my previous role, I was praised by my Supervisor for preparing a high-quality cuisine aligned to restaurant standards and consistency requirements. I also ensured customer loyalty by incorporating organic meals into the recipe for health-conscious customers. All this turned out to be in high demand in the area, and its consumption level became high since customers were demanding from it. This gives me confidence that given this role I will perform to the expected standards.”
13. How Would You Complete Multiple Tasks Within A Short Time Frame?
The question tests organizational, time management, and multitasking abilities
“I understand the industry requires multi-tasking skills. I will begin by prioritization of tasks; I will make a schedule on the tasks which need a combination. I will break each task down into smaller tasks and set them into a priority sequence. The skill involved comes from determining, often in the moment, which tasks are more important than others and focusing on those tasks first. Once I understand which tasks hold the most importance. I will handle the work in order of importance and ensure everything is done. This will ensure that I finish everything assigned to me.“
14. How Do You React When A Customer Sends Their Meal Back And What Will You Do To Improve The Dish?
The question tests how you react to challenging situations and how you quickly solve them. It requires communication skills. Explain how you will approach the situation.
“If a customer expresses their dissatisfaction with a menu item, I will personally work to learn what needs to be improved by speaking with them. This helps me gain an understanding of the ideal dish they are looking for. I will then prepare the dish to their liking and express my sincere apologies for the inconvenience. Learning more about customers’ tastes and preferences can help me tailor meals to their satisfaction.”
15. What Key Words Would Your Colleagues Use To Describe You?
The interviewer wants to establish what you are known for. The way our colleagues describe us can give someone an idea of who we are. It also shows that you are self-aware. Tell the interviewer what your colleagues would say about you.
“My colleagues would use words such as passionate, creative, and hard-working to describe me. They acknowledge that I put my effort into everything I do. They also claim that I do not seem to be discouraged by any obstacle because of my passion for good food.”
16. How Do You Maintain the Flavor and Quality Of Dish When You Create An Item For A Reduced-Fat Or Low-Sodium Menu?
This is a technical question. You should be able to discuss how you go about making these dishes without compromising quality or taste.
“The challenge when making dishes for people with restricted diets is replacing the ingredients they can eat with others that help maintain the quality and flavor of the food. I do this by using a variety of spices, substituting the restricted ingredients with similar but healthy items, and creating completely new dishes which people can enjoy without being concerned about the ingredients. The outcome has always been a sumptuous satisfying meal.”
17. What Measures Would You Implement To Minimize Food Wastage?
The interviewer is testing the technical skills. Food wastage drives costs up and maybe a concern for many hotels. Give a strategy to manage this.
“I will make sure all employees are ordering and storing products properly. I will ensure that we cook wisely and use up everything. I will also monitor food cost reports and stock levels to identify areas in which we are likely to experience wastages. Once we have identified an area that is prone to wastages, I will brainstorm on things we can do better to contain the wastage. These strategies I believe will be instrumental in ensuring no wastages.”
18. What Knowledge Do You Have On Food Safety And How Will You Adhere Safety Standards In The Kitchen?
The interviewer is testing your knowledge of safety measures in food handling. The Sous Chef should be keen on food safety and be able to enforce the standards in the kitchen.
“I am always keen on preparing tasteful meals. Food safety is a priority in preparing incredible meals. It is my responsibility to maintain the safety standards in the kitchen. I will always ensure my team is well trained on safety issues. This is to make sure they are aware of the standards they are supposed to maintain while preparing meals. I will be vigilant in inspecting the facilities regularly and check on the storage, disposals, and preparation process. Finally, I will take disciplinary action on anybody who violates a food safety rule.”
19. How Do You Maintain The Quality And Freshness Of The Ingredients You Use To Prepare The Dishes You Make?
This question is testing the knowledge on storage best practices.
“Maintaining the freshness of the ingredients is fundamental to preparing quality dishes. I do this by first sourcing the ingredients locally, either at a farmer’s market or from reputable suppliers. I then take care to store the ingredients in such a manner as to maintain their freshness. The final step is only to purchase what I need for today or tomorrow’s menu. This eliminates waste and maintains the freshness of the ingredients.”
20. How Would You Describe Your Kitchen Management Style?
Managing activities is key; discuss your skills in this area and how they integrate into your cooking style.
“I have vast experience in managing staff and kitchen operations from my previous role. From this, I would describe my style as casual, inspirational, and detail-oriented. I strive to work with the right people, with the right skills and attitudes. I will give them the resources to do their job, and be there to support them when needed. I will then let them do their job with as little oversight as possible. This allows me to focus on the menu and to create amazing dishes.”
As a Sous Chef, a combination of skills will make you succeed in an interview. You need to picture yourself and show expression all the qualities required. Have self-confidence and show the passion that the role belongs to you. Express your expertise to the interviewer using your experience and engagement. Ensure you leave a good impression on how you communicate and give out your answers.