Interview questions for chefs

My team here at HtE Recruitment are here to help you with you're chef interview if your attending a chef interview or if your recruiting, we want to help you to interview a chef. We are a national recruitment agency for the Hospitality industry. On this page you will see some tips to do before a interview, some sample questions in a chef interview, different types of chef interviews and what to do after the chef interview. For more advice, please do speak to your recruitment consultant.

If you are looking for temp work whilst you are looking for a full time job, we have a temp chef division.

Good luck with your chef interview.

HtE Recruitment.

Don't be left short in your kitchen whilst you recruit a new chef. It can take 4-6 weeks to recruit a new chef, this could have a major inpact on your trade. Our relief chef service can help with this. Our bank of over 500 Relief chefs are based across the UK at all levels and skill base.   more info
If you think you will be short staffed in your kitchen and this might have a impact on your business, call us today. Our relief chefs have ID & references on file, ready to work in your kitchen.  Call 0203 542 6103 (southern uk) or 0161 300 7862 (northern uk).
Over 100  current chef jobs nationally, HtE Recruitment is a national Hospitality and Catering Recruitment Agency. Click here for some of the current Chef jobs across the uk

On this page:

section 1 - chef interview tips

section 2 - during the interview

section 3 - type of chef interviews

section 4 - formal interview questions (general)

section 5 - formal interview questions (head chef)

section 6 - formal interview questions (sous chef)

Section 7 - Food knowledge questions


section 1- Chef interview tips:
Before a chef interview:

jonnychef_pic2Prior to an interview we would suggest you do the following:
1. Look on the company website, research about the company and think of some questions
2. Plan your route to the interview
3. Have clean and ironed smart clothes to wear, get these ready the night before including clean polished shoes.
If this is a working chef interview take some clean/ironed chef whites, make sure you look the part.

4. Look on the menus and have a dish in mind to cook.
5. Set off in plenty of time, always be 10 minutes early to the interview.
6. Have our contact number with you, in case of an issue traveling. Your chef consultant is here for you.
7. Take any certificates with you, like your food hygiene or nvq. you can always update your food hygiene online for only £15 + vat (click here)

section 2 -
During the interview
hp_img71. When the person interviewing you comes into the area your waiting in, always stand up and put your hand out to shake hands.
2. Always have you're mobile phone turned off, no chewing gum in and smelling nice n fresh.
3. Always listen to a question, never 'but' in with a answer until the person finishes the sentence
4. Always say thank you and please if they off you something like a cup of coffee / water. It is great practice to say yes if offered a drink
5. If they show you around the hotel, whenever possible walk along side them not in front of them, offer to let them go through the door 1st (esp if they are female), if a guest is behind you - hold the door open to let the guest walk through it.
6. As you leave, shake hands with the person
7. Never swear or use slang words

TIP: make sure you look the part, people do look at someone being smart.


section 3 -
Types of interviews

There are many ways for a chef interview to happen, here are some examples:

web5choccake**ready, steady, cook**
Some clients will give you some produce on a tray and ask you to cook a dish. Clients are looking for your creative side, to use the produce in the best way. Stop and think before you start cooking. Always think about your timings, if you have 30 minutes, make sure you can cook it and serve it within that time. The two areas people slip up on is timings and not working in a clean / organised way.

**Working interview**
web3chefcookingSome clients will ask you to work the shift. Ensure you ask if your not sure how to cook something. Be part of the team, look like your interested and if you have nothing to do, ask for jobs to do.
These are fantastic as you get a very good idea of the the kitchen and the team you be working in.Always have a look over the menu in advance.

Do make sure you are in clean chef whites, you can always buy new ones with next day delivery -
(click here). If you turn up in dirty or old chef whites, you will not give the best 1st thought about you.

indexfood2Some clients will ask you to write a menu and cook it. This often is a 3 course menu. Remember to use dishes which will fit into the restaurant and use seasonal produce as much as you can. For example do not cook an Indian dish in a French restaurant. Do make sure you practice your dish in advance and make sure you know your timings. For example a candidate once suggested to us about making a cheesecake but only had 90 minutes for 3 courses. Make sure the dishes give a great view of yourself and your skills, however make sure you can cook it within the time frame and they have the right equiptment. Clients often want to see your cooking skills, try and avoid the use of too much equiptment, let your skills stand out.
Dont panic when you write a menu, take time to think about it and make sure its a balanced menu. Do remember about the seasons of produce and link your menu into the style of the place. When you order your times from the client, do make sure you list everything.

**Trade test**
web6michelinYou might get asked to cook a classic dish or a traditional dish. These classic dishes are often french classic's, in our chef shop you can buy cookbooks like the ones on the left from the Roux brothers.   Trade tests are fantastic as they will help to see your knowledge of the classics. Trade tests are sometimes to watch how you prep an item, like fish to watch your knife skills. Dont panic under pressure, you can do it, just think what your doing.   In a trade test, using good quality knives can be very helpful. you can buy new chef knives with next day delivery
Tsuki knives /     Victorinox Knives  / Wusthof-Knives

**Site down interview**
interview1Traditional sit down interview where you will be asked a range of questions. Below is a list of sample questions. Do research the place before hand and look smart. Remember clean shoes and have a mint before you go in.

hte_logoTIP: when doing a working interview or trade test, make sure your food is inline with the kitchen you are in. Do not cook a italian dish in a french restaurant. Do some research, check the menus out.
Looking the part is so important.

Do you have nice chef whites?

Are they clean?

Turning to a interview looking smart in new clean chef whites, good kives, makes you look profestional

Need new Chef whites? - having clean chef whites and chef trousers is so important, are your's looking a bit old now?   (click here)

Need to increase your chef knife collection - a wide range of chef knives at good prices. Having good knives does help you look profestional.  (
click here)
Tsuki knives /     Victorinox Knives  / Wusthof-Knives

Chef shoes and Croc's (click here)

Next daily delivery is available in most areas, including a saturday


If the chef interview has a formal bit, you will be asked normally 8-12 questions

Section 4 -

General Interview questions


Type of person

  • Do you prefer working on your own or within a team, and why?
  • How would you describe your personality?
  • Can you give an example of when you went out of your way to help someone?
  • Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?
  • Do you play sports?, if so which
  • Someone you are working with is having a bad time outside of work, what would you do?. Can you given an example of this.
  • If someone else was to describe your personality, what would they say.
  • Towards the end of a shift, what do normally start thinking about?
  • If you had to tell me about you in 3 words, what 3 words would you use?
  • What motivates you?
  • What demotivates you?
  • How would you motivate others in your team?


General question

  • Do you have any holidays pre booked
  • What is your current salary
  • What salary are you looking for
  • Where can you see yourself in 5 years time
  • If they need to drive to get to the site, ask about driving / travel arrangements
  • What is your current notice period


Questions about the job

  • What do you know about the company?
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • What are you looking for in your next position?

Questions about current place of work

  • Why are you looking to leave your current place of work?
  • What would your current head chef say about yourself?
  • What type of food are you cooking?
  • Can you describe one of the dishes you are currently cooking?
  • What’s the kitchen team like?
  • What’s the team structure in the kitchen
  • What is your role during service?
  • What would a team member say about yourself?
  • Give an example of when you went above and beyond for the company?
  • What are the good points about your current place of work?



  • What are your 5 year goals?
  • What do you want to learn in the next 5 years?
  • Do you have a current food hygiene certificate?, if so which level is it?
  • Do you have a cooking qualification?, if not are you looking to do one here (ie NVQ)
  • Do you have a first aid certificate and is it in date?
  • What is COSHH?
  • What is HACCP?
  • What do you want to learn in the future?


FOOD HYGIENE - Do you have a current food hygiene? - you can  do a level 2 food hygiene certificate online for only £15 plus vat. You can also do the level 3 at only £125 + vat. The level 2 only takes a few hours and you do the learning online and only costs £15 plus vat.    It is good practice to have a up to date hygiene certificate. more information & do your certificate now - click here
Food safety and hygiene


Food questions

  • Ask the candidate a couple of questions about ingredients or dishes, base these 2-3 questions on the style of food you do.
  • Ask them a technical question, again base this on your style of cooking.
  • If they will need to help with menu design: How would you plan a menu, what are the key elements you need to look for in a good menu design?
  • What type of chef knife do you use?, a chef knife can say alot about the type of chef you are. Some good quality brands include: Tsuki knives /     Victorinox Knives  / Wusthof-Knives
  • what type of kife you would use for fillet a fish, prep a steak etc

Team leading type of questions:

  • How would you motivate others
  • How would you ensure high standards?
  • Can you give an example of a hard situation you had to handle?
  • How would you handle disagreements between team members




Section 5
Head Chef Interview questions


example of questions to ask a head chef?
  • How would you win awards?
  • what is your 5 year plan for this kitchen?
  • how do you manage budgets?
  • how would you deal with a chef who is always late?
  • what kind of style discipline do you use in your kitchen?
  • how do you ensure dishes are to the standards on your day off
  • here is a list of ingredients and prices, how do you work out the food cost and gp?
  • how is a wage percentage worked out?
  • what wage % do you work to?
  • if your gp is below budget, what things can you do to change it?
  • what things can effect a GP?
  • whats your knowledge on COSHH
  • When you design a menu, what are the 4 key things you think about?
  • What would you do if someone called in sick?
  • If your rota is looking tight, what would you do?
  • when you write a rota, what things do you think about?
  • when forecasting covers for the following week, what kind of factors do you consider?



Ask the chef questions about how he/she will teach others. A good Head Chef can teach other chefs and develop them.


Section 6

Sous chef questions:

these are example questions, that might be asked to a sous chef:

  • How do you train others
  • how will you ensure the high standards when the head chef is off
  • what kind of support would you give to the head chef
  • what value would you bring to the kitchen
  • how do you manage the kitchen?
  • have you an knowledge of menu planning
  • what would you do if the dishwasher breaks down?
  • what would you do if one of the ovens stopped working
  • if you have a function for 200 chicken dishes and only 180 was delivered this morning and was signed for by the breakfast chef, what would you do?
  • what would you do if the KP called in sick
  • when you become  a head chef, what type of kitchen would you want?
  • why do you want to be a sous chef here, what will this do for your career?

chefcurrentjobpageAsk the Sous chef about running the pass when the head chef is off. Do you think the sous chef can control the pass?. It is very important to have a sous chef who can run the pass.




Section 7

Sample food knowledge questions


(these are only sample questions, of the type of questions that have been asked in the past, these are just to give you an idea of questions. The questions will also depend on the type of kitchen as well)

Key word test: please give a BRIEF explanation of the following kitchen terminology


  • Julien ________________________________________

  • bouquet garni ________________________________________

  • brunoise ________________________________________

  • parizien ________________________________________

  • panache ________________________________________

  • mise en plas ________________________________________

  • mire e poi ________________________________________

  • Aromatics _______________________________________

Recipe test: This section is a basic recipe test to gain a better understanding of your knowledge of ingredients and how best to prepare them. Please note quantities of ingredients ARE NOT necessary.


Q1. Your given 4 lobsters and asked to humanely kill them, cook them and finally make bisque out of the shells; please give a brief description of how you would complete this process, noting any equipment needed, timings and ingredients used.

Q2. You’ve been asked to make a cheese cake. The recipe says to add 6 leaves of gelatine as a setting agent. Please explain the process of how you would incorporate the gelatine into your cheesecake.

Q3. Other than gelatine name 1 other setting agents? Also specify one setting agent that is vegetarian
Q4. The night before you forgot to order mayonnaise and you are in desperate need of it. Please give a brief method and ingredient list on how to produce a small amount of mayonnaise.

Q5. Please explain the process of making a beef stock to be used as a base for sauces. Please note method and ingredients.


Q6. The head chef has asked you to make him crème anglaise. Please specify the method and ingredients to prepare this.


Q7. Explain how you would cook a risotto base for a vegetarian dish.


Q8. What colour chopping board would you use for smoked salmon?


Q9. What temperature does a chicken breast need to be legally cooked to?


Q10. How long would you cook pork belly for?


Q11. Name 5 different cuts of beef.


Q12. Explain briefly what a “roux” is and give an example of its use.


Q13. What temperature should fresh food items be correctly stored at?


Q14. If a fire breaks out in the kitchen, what is the first thing you should do?





hte_logoTIP: Always spend some time looking into the place. it is expected you know something about the place. If you are unsure where to research, your recruitment consultant will help you, just ask.


Section 8 - Asking questions


What questions to ask?

Always plan a few questions to ask, most people will ask this questions. It is always best to have 2 - 3 questions in mind. This can include training, promotion opportunities, how often menus change, types of customers etc. Always leave salary as the final question you ask, not the 1st question.

interview finished - what to do

After the interview

Call your H t E Recruitment consultant to let them know how the interview went. We will then contact the client and get feedback for you and hopefully secure you the offer. We are here for you to secure you the best job.

If the role is not right for you. DONT PANIC. We have over 120 other chef roles across the uk in a wide range of Hotels and Restaurants. View our other chef job vacancies click here

If your a client and your recruit a chef - see ways to interview here or to get help in recruitment go here

Good luck from everyone at HtE Recruitment for your interview.

Have a good cv
A good interview, starts with a good cv. A cv is your 'shop window'. It will tell the employer about you before they meet you. Its so important you spend time on the CV, this is as important as the interview it self.

Write a CV
If you have not yet written a CV,click here for chef cv writing tips and a sample chef cv. Having a cv in the correct format is really important, your chef consultant at HTE Recruitment will help you with this. if you do not have word, fill out our online form and your consultant will generate a cv we can use for you. go
When writting a cv, its so important you get the dates and job titles correct on the cv.


General interview tips


Don't rush the recruitment process, make sure your happy with the person you recruit. If you are Short in your kitchen, Hte Recruitment is a Chef Recruitment agency offering both Permanent & Temporary recruitment solutions to support you - click here
Local website pages for Hospitality and Catering recruitment at HtE Recruitment - Temps London (click) Perm London (click)   south (click)  north (click)

 Is your food hygiene up to date? - it is good practice to renew it every 3 years.

Lesson Plan

Upon completion of this module learners will have an understanding of a wide range of key food safety issues, including the three main types of food safety hazard, their sources and methods of control. Learners will know the correct temperatures needed for storage and food handling activities from delivery through to sale, and be aware of common food pests and how to control them, along with the principles of cleaning and disinfection and how these apply to the workplace.

The sections covered include:

  • Learning Objectives and an introduction to Food Safety and Hygiene - Food Safety and Hygiene are terms commonly used, here we will look at how they relate to food that has been prepared and served.
  • Impact of Food-Borne Illness - looking at what food-bourne illnesses are and how they affect us.
  • Understanding Food Law - food often has a long journey from growing, harvesting, delivery, preparation through to being eaten. As a result there are many opportunities for it to become contaminated. In this section we look at legislation in place that relates to food hygiene and safety.
  • Food Safety Hazards and Contamination - exploring food safety hazards and how they arise and consider how they can be prevented and controlled.
  • Food Preservation, Storage and Temperature Control - how to preserve food, including appropriate storage and temperature controls.
  • Personal Hygiene - this section looks at why personal hygiene is so important when working with food - from hand washing to legal requirements.
  • Hygienic Premises and Equipment - this section looks at good housekeeping and the part premises and equipment design play in maintaining clean, pest-free conditions.
  • Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) - it is a requirement of regulations that all businesses implement and maintain a documented Food Safety Management system based on HACCP. This section looks at what this involves.

Do your food hygiene now online for only £15 + vat [click here]
Look the part:

Need new Chef whites? - having clean chef whites and chef trousers is so important, are your's looking a bit old now?   (click here)

Need to increase your chef knife collection - a wide range of chef knives at good prices. Having good knives does help you look profestional.  (
click here)
Tsuki knives /     Victorinox Knives  / Wusthof-Knives

Chef shoes and Croc's (click here)

Next daily delivery is available in most areas, including a saturday
 Stay in contact - email us: stay in contact - Like our Facebook page
 Still looking for a chef job - our team can help you - email us now [email]

northern recruitment team:
Northern UK: 0161 300 7862
HtE Recruitment, 3000 Aviator Way, Manchester Airport Business Park, Manchester, M22 5TG. 

Southern Recruitment team:
Southern UK: 0203 542 6103
HTE Recruitment, 3rd Floor, 207 Regent Street, London, W1B 3HH