25 Commis Chef Interview Questions and Answers
Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a commis chef, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.
Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a commis chef, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.
A commis chef is the most junior position in a professional kitchen. This entry-level chef is responsible for helping the head chef prepare food, cleaning the kitchen, and organizing supplies. If you’re looking for a commis chef job, you’ll likely need to go through a job interview.
To help you prepare for your interview, we’ve put together a list of common questions that commis chefs are asked. We’ve also included sample answers to help you develop your own responses.
Working as a commis chef can be quite busy, especially during peak hours. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re comfortable working in a fast-paced environment and that you have the ability to multitask. In your answer, explain how you feel about working in a high-pressure situation and what strategies you use to stay organized and focused.
Example: “Absolutely. I have extensive experience working in a fast-paced kitchen environment. During my time as a Commis Chef, I was able to quickly learn and master the necessary skills needed for the job. I am comfortable multitasking and managing multiple tasks simultaneously while maintaining high standards of quality. I understand that speed is essential in this role and I am confident that I can keep up with any demands placed upon me.”
Employers ask this question to learn more about your personality and how you would fit in with their team. When answering, think of a few strengths that relate to the job description or the restaurant’s mission statement. You can also mention any skills you have that are not listed on the job posting but could be useful for the role.
Example: “As a commis chef, I believe my greatest strength is my ability to work quickly and efficiently in a fast-paced kitchen environment. I have extensive experience working with different types of equipment and ingredients, allowing me to create delicious dishes quickly and accurately. My attention to detail ensures that each dish meets the highest standards of quality. In addition, I am highly organized and able to manage multiple tasks at once while still producing excellent results. Finally, I take great pride in my work and strive to exceed expectations every time.”
Employers ask this question to learn more about your personality and how you approach the job. They want to know if you are a creative chef or someone who prefers to follow recipes. Your answer should include two or three adjectives that describe your cooking style, such as innovative, traditional or healthy.
Example: “My cooking style is best described as creative and innovative. I strive to create unique dishes that are both visually appealing and delicious. I am always looking for ways to add a twist to traditional recipes, while still keeping the flavor profile of the dish intact. I also take great pride in my presentation skills; I believe that food should not only taste good but look beautiful too.
I have a strong understanding of different cuisines and techniques, which allows me to be flexible when creating new dishes. I’m comfortable working with all types of ingredients and I’m constantly experimenting with flavors and textures. I’m well-versed in classic French cuisine, but I’m also open to exploring other global cuisines.”
The interviewer may ask you this question to learn more about your experience with managing money in a professional kitchen. This can be an important skill for commis chefs because they often need to manage their time and resources effectively to meet the needs of their team and customers. In your answer, try to explain how you plan out your work schedule and use your budget to help you stay organized.
Example: “I have extensive experience working with a budget in a professional kitchen. During my time as a Commis Chef, I was responsible for creating and managing the kitchen’s weekly budget. This included ensuring that all ingredients were purchased within the allocated budget while still maintaining high-quality standards.
In addition to this, I also had to manage labor costs by scheduling staff appropriately and assigning tasks efficiently. I worked closely with the head chef to ensure that we stayed on track with our budget and that any unexpected expenses could be accounted for. My organizational skills and attention to detail allowed us to stay within budget without compromising quality or service.”
This question can help the interviewer understand how you adapt to changes in your environment and how you use your problem-solving skills. Use examples from previous jobs where you had to make a change to the menu on short notice or when you needed to create new dishes for customers.
Example: “I recently had to adapt to a change in the menu at my current position as Commis Chef. The restaurant I work for decided to introduce a new dish that was outside of our usual cuisine. To ensure the dish was up to standard, I worked closely with the head chef to learn how to prepare it correctly. I also took the initiative to research different recipes and techniques to make sure I could produce the best possible version of the dish.
Once I felt comfortable with the recipe, I practiced making the dish several times until I was confident in my ability to execute it perfectly. Finally, when the dish was added to the menu, I was able to successfully create it without any issues. This experience has taught me the importance of being flexible and adapting quickly to changes in the menu.”
This question can help interviewers understand how you handle customer complaints. Use your answer to highlight your communication and problem-solving skills.
Example: “If a customer sent their dish back to the kitchen, I would first apologize for the inconvenience and ask them what was wrong with the dish. After listening carefully to their feedback, I would take the dish back to the kitchen and discuss it with my team. We would then work together to identify the issue and come up with a solution that meets the customer’s needs.
Once we have identified the problem, I would ensure that all necessary steps are taken to rectify it. This could include recooking the dish or offering an alternative. I would also make sure that the customer is kept informed of our progress throughout the process. Finally, I would check in with the customer once the dish has been re-prepared to ensure they are satisfied with the outcome.”
This question can help the interviewer determine how you approach challenges in your work. Use examples from previous experiences to show that you are willing to ask for help and learn new things.
Example: “If I were assigned a task and wasn’t sure how to complete it, the first thing I would do is ask questions. I believe that communication is key in any kitchen setting and asking questions can help ensure that tasks are completed correctly and efficiently. If my supervisor or another chef was not available to answer my questions, I would consult cookbooks or online resources for guidance. Finally, if all else fails, I am comfortable with trial and error as long as safety protocols are followed. I understand that mistakes happen, but I also know that learning from them will make me a better Commis Chef.”
Employers ask this question to make sure you can follow their directions and instructions. They want to know that you are a team player who is willing to do what they’re told. Use your answer to show the interviewer that you are someone who is dependable and eager to learn.
Example: “I take direction very seriously and I understand the importance of following instructions accurately. As a Commis Chef, it is essential to be able to follow directions precisely in order to ensure that all dishes are prepared correctly. In my previous experience as a Commis Chef, I have always followed directions carefully and paid close attention to detail.
I am also comfortable working with recipes and making adjustments when necessary. I understand that sometimes recipes need to be adjusted based on ingredients available or customer preferences. I am confident in my ability to make these changes while still adhering to the original recipe and producing a high-quality dish.”
This question can help interviewers understand your experience with working in a busy environment. If you have previous experience preparing food for large groups, describe the situation and what challenges you faced. If you don’t have any experience, explain why this is the case and how you would handle it if given the opportunity to work as a commis chef.
Example: “Yes, I do have experience preparing food for large groups. During my time as a Commis Chef at my previous job, I was responsible for catering to events with up to 200 guests. This included creating menus, ordering ingredients, and ensuring that all dishes were cooked to perfection. In addition, I also had the opportunity to work in a high-volume restaurant setting where I prepared meals for hundreds of customers on a daily basis.
I am confident that my skills and experience make me an ideal candidate for this position. I am organized, detail-oriented, and able to handle the pressure of working in a fast-paced environment. My knowledge of kitchen operations and ability to follow recipes precisely will ensure that every dish is cooked perfectly and served promptly.”
This question can help interviewers understand how you manage your time and resources. Use examples from past experiences to explain how you stay on budget while still producing quality food.
Example: “Staying within budget when preparing food is an important part of being a successful Commis Chef. I understand the importance of controlling costs and making sure that ingredients are used efficiently. To do this, I always plan my recipes ahead of time to ensure that I am using only the necessary ingredients. I also make sure to use up leftovers whenever possible, as this can help reduce waste and save money. Finally, I always shop around for the best prices on ingredients so that I can get the most out of my budget. By following these steps, I am able to stay within budget while still creating delicious dishes.”
This question is an opportunity to show your creativity and problem-solving skills. It’s also a way for the interviewer to understand how you would approach challenges in the kitchen.
Example: “I believe that creativity is essential in the kitchen, and I would approach a task with complete freedom within the parameters of the menu by first considering what ingredients are available. From there, I would brainstorm ideas for dishes that could be created using those ingredients and consider how they could be combined to create something unique and delicious. Once I have an idea, I would then research recipes or techniques related to my concept and experiment with different flavors and textures to ensure the dish meets the highest standards. Finally, I would present the dish to the head chef for approval before serving it to guests.”
This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you are committed to maintaining a clean and sanitary kitchen. Use examples from past experiences where you have implemented sanitation practices in the workplace.
Example: “I understand the importance of cleanliness and sanitation in a professional kitchen. I have experience with all aspects of cleaning and sanitation, from daily tasks to deep cleans. On a daily basis, I make sure that all surfaces are wiped down and sanitized after each use, as well as ensuring that all equipment is properly cleaned and stored away. I also take care to ensure that food waste is disposed of correctly and that floors are swept and mopped regularly.
For deeper cleans, I am experienced in using specialized products and techniques to thoroughly clean and disinfect areas such as ovens, grills, and other cooking appliances. I always follow safety protocols when handling hazardous materials and chemicals, and I’m familiar with the proper disposal methods for these items. Finally, I make sure to keep up-to-date on any new regulations or guidelines related to cleaning and sanitation in order to maintain a safe and healthy work environment.”
Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their team. When answering, it’s important to highlight a skill or experience that makes you unique from other candidates. You may also want to mention something that relates to the job description.
Example: “I believe my experience and passion for cooking makes me stand out from other candidates. I have been a Commis Chef for the past four years, working in various restaurants and hotels. During this time, I have developed an extensive knowledge of food preparation techniques, as well as a keen eye for detail when it comes to presentation.
In addition to my professional experience, I am passionate about learning new recipes and expanding my culinary repertoire. I am always eager to try something new and experiment with different ingredients and flavors. This enthusiasm is reflected in my work, which has earned me praise from previous employers.”
This question can help the interviewer get a sense of your passion for cooking and what you hope to achieve in this role. It also helps them understand how much experience you have with different types of food. When answering, think about which cuisine you would most like to learn more about and why. Consider mentioning something that is not commonly prepared or eaten where you live.
Example: “I am passionate about learning new cuisines and expanding my culinary knowledge. Currently, I have experience with French cuisine, but I would love to learn more about Mediterranean cuisine. The combination of flavors from the region is so unique and interesting that it really appeals to me.
The use of herbs, spices, vegetables, and seafood in Mediterranean dishes makes for a complex yet delicious flavor profile. I’m also intrigued by the cultural influences on the food, as well as the different cooking techniques used in this type of cuisine. I believe that mastering these techniques will help me become an even better Commis Chef.”
This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you have the skills and abilities necessary for this role. You can answer this question by identifying a skill from the job description and explaining how you use it in your work.
Example: “As a commis chef, I believe the most important skill to have is organization. Being organized in the kitchen allows for efficient and effective food preparation. It also helps ensure that all orders are completed on time and with the highest quality of ingredients. Organization also ensures that all safety protocols are followed and that any potential hazards are avoided.
In addition to being organized, I think it’s important for a commis chef to be creative. Creative thinking can help come up with new dishes or ways to make existing dishes more interesting. This creativity can help keep customers coming back for more.
Lastly, I think communication skills are essential for a commis chef. Being able to communicate effectively with other members of the team, as well as with customers, is key to creating an enjoyable dining experience. Communication also helps ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to food preparation and delivery.”
Employers ask this question to make sure you stay up-to-date on food safety regulations. They want to know that you’re committed to following the rules and keeping your customers safe. In your answer, explain how important it is for you to keep learning about food safety. Share a few ways you’ve done so in the past.
Example: “I take food safety very seriously and I’m always looking for ways to stay up-to-date on the latest regulations and best practices. I make sure to attend any relevant seminars or workshops that are offered in my area, as well as reading industry publications and websites regularly. I also keep a close eye on any changes to local or national laws related to food safety. Finally, I am certified in ServSafe Food Handler training and have completed additional courses in food safety management. This ensures that I remain knowledgeable about all aspects of food safety and can confidently follow procedures in the kitchen.”
The interviewer may ask this question to see how you handle conflict and interpersonal relationships. Your answer should show that you can help a team member feel welcome, while also maintaining the high standards of quality in your kitchen.
Example: “I understand the importance of a cohesive team in a kitchen environment. If there is a new cook who isn’t fitting in, I would take the time to get to know them and find out what their strengths are. This could be done through informal conversations or by observing how they work.
Once I have identified their strengths, I can help them become more integrated into the team by assigning tasks that play to those strengths. For example, if they excel at plating dishes, I could assign them to plate all desserts for the evening service.
At the same time, I would also provide guidance and support to the new cook so they feel comfortable asking questions and expressing any concerns they may have. Finally, I would encourage my fellow cooks to be patient with the new cook and create an inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels welcome.”
This question can help the interviewer understand your attention to detail and how you ensure that customers receive high-quality food. Use examples from past experiences where you used your senses or tools to check the quality of the food before it was served.
Example: “Cooking food correctly and at the right temperature is essential for providing a safe and enjoyable dining experience. As a Commis Chef, I take this responsibility very seriously. To ensure that all food is cooked correctly and at the right temperature, I always follow recipes precisely and use thermometers to check internal temperatures of dishes. I also make sure to cook each dish in the appropriate amount of time, as overcooking or undercooking can ruin the flavor and texture of the food. Finally, I double-check my work by tasting the food before it leaves the kitchen. This way, I can be sure that every dish meets the highest standards of quality.”
Employers want to know that you are passionate about your career and willing to learn new things. They may ask this question to see if you have a plan for keeping up with the latest trends in the culinary industry. In your answer, share two or three ways you stay on top of what’s happening in the food world. You can also mention any specific resources you use to do so.
Example: “I take my professional development very seriously and strive to stay up-to-date with industry trends. To do this, I regularly read culinary magazines and blogs, attend seminars and conferences, and follow leading chefs on social media. This helps me keep abreast of the latest techniques, ingredients, recipes, and equipment that are being used in the foodservice industry.
Additionally, I am a member of several professional organizations such as the American Culinary Federation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. These organizations provide valuable resources for staying current with industry trends through newsletters, webinars, and other educational opportunities. Finally, I actively network with peers in the industry by attending events and exchanging ideas.”
This question is a great way to see how you respond to mistakes and learn more about your problem-solving skills. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention the steps you took to fix the mistake and what you learned from the experience.
Example: “Yes, I have had a dish come out wrong before. When this happened, I took the initiative to quickly assess what went wrong and how it could be corrected. I then communicated with my team members and supervisors to find an effective solution. We discussed potential solutions and chose the one that would best fit the situation. After making the necessary adjustments, we were able to successfully recreate the dish according to its original specifications.
In addition to being able to problem solve in difficult situations, I also take pride in learning from mistakes. Every time something goes wrong, I make sure to analyze what caused the issue so that I can prevent similar issues from happening again in the future. This helps me become a better chef and more efficient at my job.”
Working as a commis chef can be very stressful, especially when you’re responsible for the quality of your restaurant’s food. Employers ask this question to make sure that you have experience working under pressure and know how to handle it. In your answer, try to explain what caused the pressure and how you handled it. Show them that you are able to stay calm in high-pressure situations.
Example: “Working well under pressure is something I have a lot of experience with. In my current role as Commis Chef, I am often required to work in high-pressure situations. For example, during the busy summer months, I had to manage multiple orders at once while ensuring that each dish was cooked to perfection and served on time. To do this, I had to stay organized and focused, making sure that all ingredients were prepped ahead of time and that I was able to multitask effectively. Despite the pressure, I was able to keep calm and deliver excellent results. This experience has taught me how to remain composed even when faced with tight deadlines or difficult tasks.”
When working in a busy kitchen, it’s important to be able to prioritize tasks and manage time effectively. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills necessary to succeed in their environment. In your answer, explain how you would approach prioritizing tasks when there are many things that need to get done at once. Explain which steps you would take to ensure you’re completing all of your work on time.
Example: “Prioritizing tasks in a busy kitchen is essential to ensure that all orders are completed efficiently and on time. As a Commis Chef, I understand the importance of staying organized and focused when working in a fast-paced environment. To prioritize tasks, I would first assess what needs to be done and then create a plan for completing each task in order of priority. This could include delegating certain tasks to other chefs or staff members if needed. I also believe in communication with my team to ensure everyone is aware of their responsibilities and deadlines. Finally, I always strive to stay ahead of the game by prepping ingredients and organizing equipment before service begins. By following these steps, I am confident that I can effectively manage a busy kitchen and keep up with customer demands.”
Working as a team is an important part of being a chef. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re willing to work with others and that you have the interpersonal skills necessary for teamwork. When answering, it can be helpful to mention one or two specific examples of how you’ve worked well with other chefs in the past.
Example: “Working collaboratively with other commis chefs is something I’m passionate about. I believe that team work and collaboration are essential for any successful kitchen. As a Commis Chef, I understand the importance of working together to ensure dishes are prepared quickly and accurately. I have experience in leading teams and delegating tasks, which has enabled me to create an efficient workflow within the kitchen.
I also understand the importance of communication between all members of the team. This includes sharing ideas, providing feedback and offering support when needed. Working together allows us to learn from each other and develop our skills, while creating a positive atmosphere in the kitchen.”
This question can help the interviewer determine how you approach your work and whether you have any unique skills that could benefit their kitchen. Use examples from previous experience to highlight your ability to multitask, organize tasks by priority and develop strategies for completing tasks on time.
Example: “I have a strong commitment to efficiency in the kitchen and I strive to ensure that all tasks are completed quickly and accurately. To achieve this, I use several techniques. Firstly, I plan my work ahead of time by creating checklists for each task. This allows me to stay organized and on-task throughout the day. Secondly, I am constantly looking for ways to streamline processes and reduce waste. For example, I recently implemented a system where ingredients are prepped in bulk, which has saved us both time and money. Finally, I always make sure to communicate effectively with other members of the team so that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and can work together efficiently.”
The interviewer may ask you this question to learn more about your experience level and how comfortable you are using various tools in the kitchen. Use your answer to highlight any specific skills or techniques that you have for operating different types of equipment.
Example: “Yes, I have extensive experience using a variety of kitchen equipment. During my time as a Commis Chef, I have used mixers, blenders, slicers, and other pieces of equipment to prepare food for customers. I am confident in my ability to use all types of kitchen equipment safely and efficiently.
I also understand the importance of keeping up with maintenance on these machines. I make sure that each piece of equipment is properly cleaned and maintained after every shift. This ensures that the equipment will last longer and perform better over time.”