Cook Interview Questions

Cooks work in restaurants and prepare food for customers. They may be responsible for preparing and cooking various types of food, including appetizers, desserts and main courses. The interview process for a cook position may involve an initial screening by a hiring manager followed by an in-depth interview with the chef.
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Example Interview Questions

Some sample questions that a cook might be asked during an interview are included in this article. Prepare answers to these questions so that you can confidently respond to questions you might be asked by your interviewer.

What are your greatest strengths as a cook?

You should highlight your strongest skills in the interview so that your potential employer can see how you will fit best with his or her kitchen. If you are interviewing for a management or leadership position, you should be able to state your ability to motivate and lead your team. If you are interviewing for a line cook position, explain your knowledge of how to prepare a variety of different foods.

Example answer: "I am very detail-oriented. My ability to pay attention to the smallest of details is one of my greatest strengths. This trait has earned me promotions at every restaurant I have worked at. I am also a natural leader. My ability to motivate my team comes from my own hard work and determination to succeed."

How do you organize your day as a cook?

This is a behavioral question: the employer wants to know how you deal with certain situations at work. A good answer includes details about your specific methods. You might also want to talk about your strengths and how they help you achieve your goals.

Example answer: "At the beginning of the day, I check the schedule to make sure that I have all of the ingredients that I need. I also check to see if there will be any last-minute changes, like a special request from a customer. I use a checklist so that I have everything I need and it goes without a hitch. Because I use a checklist, I'm able to spend the majority of my time actually cooking and less time looking for ingredients."

What is the biggest challenge you have faced while working as a cook?

This question is designed to see how you respond to challenges on the job. Share examples of challenges you have faced in the workplace and how you solved them. You should mention your level of responsibility, the number of people you had to work with, and the size of the company.

Example answer: "I once worked with a chef who insisted on using outdated recipes. These recipes made it hard to serve the dishes we're known for. When he would change the menu, I would have to discuss the matter with him and show him my own recipe. I also had to explain why our regulars liked the dishes the way they are and why you can't get the same flavor if you change certain ingredients. This was very hard at times because it often led to conflict with my superior."

How would you describe your approach to cooking?

This question is designed to see if you can apply your cooking knowledge and principles to a specific scenario. Describe your approach to cooking, citing ingredients and techniques that would be used in this situation. Also include any elements of the recipe that would have to be modified.

Example answer: "I would consider the dish itself, the ingredients and the number of people I was cooking for. I would, of course, adhere to the recipe, but if it called for a lot of time or required an expensive ingredient, I would find a way to modify it. For example, rather than buy an expensive cut of meat, I would find a cheaper alternative. In addition, I know you can substitute fruit for fruit. So, if the recipe calls for apples, you can substitute pears. I would also consider the cooking method."

Describe a time when you had to adapt a recipe.

Employers ask this question to gauge your ability to come up with solutions and make a good decision quickly. Be prepared to talk about the process you used to research or come up with this solution. In your answer, highlight your communication abilities and how you gathered information from team members to create and implement a solution.

Example answer: "I was making a cake for a co-worker's birthday. She loves chocolate mint. I already knew that the recipe called for mint flavoring. However, when I was making the cake, I realized that I was out of mint flavoring, so I had to improvise. I still wanted to make the cake, so I used more cocoa in the recipe, which solved my problem."

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