Executive Chef Interview Questions

Ready to find your star-quality Executive Chef? These sample interview questions will help you find the best person for the job.

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Executive Chef qualifications to look for

An Executive Chef manages the daily operations of kitchens in restaurants and hotels. Their duties may include designing the menu, hiring, training and overseeing kitchen staff, and ensuring a high-quality, cost-effective product.

Your next top-hire executive chef will be able to build, train and supervise a team of kitchen staff, establish relationships with food vendors and design a menu that suits your restaurant’s cuisine, ambiance, budget, and ingredients availability. 

Your chef will be highly involved in creating a positive experience for your customers, so it’s important they are customer-forward thinkers who take the entire dining experience into account. 

Keep an eye out for candidates who are:

  • Strong leaders
  • Budget-minded 
  • Creative
  • Cool under pressure
  • Resourceful 
  • Business-minded

Top tip: Diversity is key to a thriving workplace. Keep an eye out for management and exec-level candidates from varying backgrounds and aim to eliminate bias from your hiring process.

Problem-solving interview questions

  • What attracted you to a career as a chef? Why did you enter the culinary field?
  • Describe your training and any educational background. 
  • How would you improve our establishment? What would you change on the menu?
  • How do you take ownership of the customers’ experience?
  • Describe to me your role in Purchasing and Receiving.
  • How does food cost factor into menu creation?
  • What are some of the best food vendors you work with? 
  • What cuisine is your specialty? 
  • How do you change your menu seasonally? 
  • What steps do you take to control the quality of the food that goes out to customers?
  • Do you allow customers to request ingredient substitutions?
  • What steps do you take to make sure you can accommodate special diets?
  • Recall a time you handled a situation with a disappointed customer. What did you do and what was the outcome? 
  • How do you keep labor costs under control? How do you monitor this? 
  • Describe your approach to hiring staff. What qualities do you look for in your kitchen crew? 
  • How do you handle letting go of employees? 
  • How involved are you in managing your cooks? How much independence do you give them? 
  • Describe your experience with multicultural and multilingual teams. What steps do you take to ensure everyone feels comfortable? 
  • Recall a time you resolved a conflict with a difficult employee. What were the issues and outcomes? 
  • What are your thoughts on training and mentoring new employees? 

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