17 Chef Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a chef manager, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Food service managers are responsible for the daily operations of restaurants and other food service establishments. They make sure that the food is prepared and served properly, the employees are doing their jobs, and the business is making a profit.

If you’re looking for a job in food service management, you’ll need to be able to answer questions about your experience, your management style, and your ability to handle difficult situations. In this guide, we’ll give you some tips on how to answer common chef manager interview questions. We’ll also provide some sample answers to help you get started.

Are you comfortable with leading a team of kitchen staff?

As a chef manager, you’ll be responsible for managing the kitchen staff and ensuring they’re completing their tasks in a timely manner. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience leading others and can handle the responsibilities that come with being a leader. In your answer, share about any leadership roles you’ve had in the past. Explain how you managed your team or helped other leaders manage their teams.

Example: “I’ve been working as a chef for five years now, so I definitely feel comfortable leading a team of kitchen staff. Throughout my career, I’ve worked my way up from line cook to sous chef and finally to my current position as executive chef at a local restaurant. Along the way, I’ve learned how to lead a team of chefs and support other leaders who are also in charge of large groups.”

What are some of your favorite aspects of being a chef manager?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you better and understand what motivates you. It also helps them determine if your personality is a good fit for their company culture. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention aspects of being a chef manager that align with your personal values.

Example: “I love helping others succeed in their careers. I find great joy in seeing my team members grow as professionals and develop new skills. Another aspect of being a chef manager that I enjoy is having the opportunity to create an environment where people feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes. I believe that by encouraging risk-taking, we can foster innovation and creativity.”

How would you handle a situation where a member of your kitchen staff is not meeting your standards?

As a manager, you are responsible for ensuring that your staff members meet the standards of their job. An interviewer may ask this question to learn how you would handle such a situation and ensure it does not happen again. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to address the issue with the employee and help them improve their performance.

Example: “If I noticed one of my kitchen staff was not meeting our standards, I would first speak with them about the issue. If they were aware of the problem but unable to fix it, I would offer additional training or resources to help them improve. If they did not show improvement after these measures, I would consider replacing them.”

What is your process for creating new menu items for your restaurant?

The interviewer may ask you this question to understand how you use your creativity and problem-solving skills to create new menu items that customers enjoy. Use examples from past experiences to explain the steps you take when creating a new dish or meal for your restaurant.

Example: “I start by researching popular food trends in my area, as well as what ingredients are currently available at local farms and markets. I also consider what types of meals our current customers would like to see on our menu. After doing some research, I begin brainstorming ideas for new dishes and write them down so I can share them with my team. We then discuss each idea and decide which ones we want to test out.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to manage a budget for your kitchen staff.

A hiring manager may ask this question to learn more about your financial management skills. They want to know that you can manage the budget for their kitchen and keep track of expenses. In your answer, explain how you managed the budget and what steps you took to ensure it was balanced.

Example: “In my last position as a chef manager, I had to create a monthly budget for our staff. I started by looking at our previous month’s sales and comparing them to our projected sales for the next month. Then, I calculated how much food we would need to prepare each day based on those numbers. Finally, I added in any additional costs like ingredients or supplies needed to make meals.”

If you could have any celebrity come into your restaurant to try your food, who would it be and why?

This question is a great way to see how passionate you are about your work. It also shows the interviewer that you have an interest in food beyond just cooking it. When answering this question, think of someone who has similar interests as you and would be excited to try your food.

Example: “I would love to have Anthony Bourdain come into my restaurant because I am such a fan of his show. He seems like he would really appreciate our farm-to-table approach and unique dishes. Plus, I know he’s been known to enjoy some craft beer, so I’d love for him to try one of our local brews.”

What would you do if you received negative feedback from a customer?

As a chef manager, you may be responsible for handling customer complaints. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills and experience needed to handle these situations effectively. In your answer, explain how you would respond to a negative review or complaint. Share what steps you would take to resolve the situation.

Example: “If I received a negative review from a customer, I would first try to understand their perspective. I would reach out to them directly to apologize for any inconvenience they experienced. Then, I would find out exactly what happened. If there was an issue with the food or service, I would work with my team to fix it. If the problem was something we couldn’t solve, I would offer a discount on their next visit.”

How well do you know the local food scene?

The interviewer may ask this question to see if you are familiar with the restaurant scene in their area. As a chef manager, it’s important that you know which restaurants have good food and service so you can recommend them to your team members. In your answer, explain how you stay up-to-date on local restaurants.

Example: “I love trying new places, so I make sure to try out at least one new restaurant every month. I also subscribe to several food blogs and newsletters that highlight new restaurants. This helps me learn about new chefs opening up shops and gives me an idea of what types of dishes they specialize in. When I find a place I like, I’ll go back multiple times to get a feel for the menu.”

Do you have any experience training new chefs or kitchen staff?

As a chef manager, you may be responsible for training new chefs or kitchen staff members. Interviewers ask this question to learn about your experience with onboarding and training employees. Use your answer to share an example of how you helped someone learn the ropes in a professional kitchen.

Example: “When I first started working as a line cook, my boss taught me everything I needed to know about cooking in a restaurant setting. He showed me how to use all of the equipment, explained the different ingredients we used and gave me tips on how to work efficiently in a busy kitchen. When hiring new chefs, I try to do the same thing. I show them how to use our tools and explain what each ingredient is and how it’s prepared. I also give them tips on how to work quickly while still maintaining quality.”

When is the best time to add spices to a dish?

This question can help an interviewer determine your knowledge of spices and when to use them. Use examples from past experiences where you used spices in a dish or helped someone else do so.

Example: “Spices should be added at the end of cooking because they lose their flavor if cooked for too long. I once had a chef who was making a stew that needed more spice, but he kept adding it throughout the process instead of at the end. The stew ended up tasting bland, and we had to start over. After that, I learned that it’s best to add spices at the end of cooking.”

We want to be known for our signature dish. What would you make our signature dish and why?

This question is a great way to see how you can contribute to the success of an establishment. It also shows your creativity and passion for food. When answering this question, it’s important to be specific about what makes the dish unique and why customers would want to order it again.

Example: “I think our signature dish should be the chicken parmesan. I love that it’s something different than other Italian restaurants in town. The chicken is breaded and fried before being topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. It’s served over spaghetti and garnished with fresh basil. This dish is delicious and has been one of our most popular dishes since we opened.”

Describe your experience with using POS systems.

POS systems are a common tool for chefs to use in their daily work. They allow you to track inventory, monitor sales and more. Interviewers may ask this question to see if you have experience using POS systems and how comfortable you are with technology. In your answer, try to explain that you’re familiar with the system and what it can do. If you don’t have direct experience, you can talk about other types of technology you’ve used.

Example: “I’ve worked in kitchens where we used POS systems before. I’m very comfortable using them because they make tracking inventory so much easier. It’s also nice to be able to keep track of customer orders and sales. I think my familiarity with these systems makes me an even better candidate for this position.”

What makes a great dish?

This question can help interviewers understand your culinary philosophy and how you would apply it to the restaurant. Use examples from your experience that show how you create dishes that are visually appealing, flavorful and balanced.

Example: “A great dish is one that’s well-balanced in flavor, texture and temperature. I also think a great dish should be visually appealing so customers enjoy their meal as much as they expect. In my last position, I was responsible for creating seasonal menus that were both delicious and healthy. One of my favorite dishes was a fall harvest salad with roasted butternut squash, pomegranate seeds and goat cheese.”

Which culinary traditions do you most identify with?

This question can help an interviewer learn more about your background and how it relates to the position you’re applying for. You may choose a culinary tradition that is similar to the one in which the restaurant operates, or you may choose one that’s different but still relevant to the job.

Example: “I grew up in a small town where we had a diner with classic American food. I love this style of cooking because it reminds me of my childhood and all the comfort foods I enjoyed there. However, I also appreciate other styles of cooking, especially those from around the world. I think these experiences have helped me develop a unique perspective on food that I hope to bring to this role.”

What do you think is the most important skill for a chef manager to have?

This question can help an interviewer determine what you value in a chef manager and how your skills align with those values. When answering this question, it can be helpful to think about the most important skill that helped you succeed as a chef manager in the past.

Example: “I believe the most important skill for a chef manager is communication. As a chef manager, I need to make sure my team knows what they’re doing, when they’re doing it and why they’re doing it. If I don’t communicate effectively with my team, then they may not understand their responsibilities or how to do them well. In my last role, I used effective communication techniques to train new employees, delegate tasks and solve problems.”

How often do you try new restaurants?

Employers may ask this question to see if you are open to trying new things. They want to know that you’re willing to try their restaurant and enjoy it. Try to answer honestly, but also show that you have a discerning palate.

Example: “I love trying new restaurants! I usually try out one or two new places every month. It’s important for me to find new places because I like to keep my palate fresh. However, I’m not afraid to give up on a place if the food isn’t good. I’ve found some of my favorite spots by giving new places a chance.”

There is a new trend in the industry that you don’t agree with. How do you handle it?

This question is a great way to see how you handle change in the industry. It also shows that you are willing to adapt and learn new things as they come along. When answering this question, it’s important to show your willingness to try new things and be open-minded.

Example: “I think there is too much emphasis on using seasonal ingredients right now. I understand why chefs do it, but I don’t think it’s necessary for every dish. For example, some vegetables taste better when cooked, so it doesn’t make sense to use them raw all of the time. I would rather focus on creating dishes that highlight the best parts of each ingredient instead of worrying about whether or not it’s seasonal.”


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