Ace Your Chef Job Interview: Consider the Following Tips to Prepare for Success

by Olivia Tacelli
CulinaryEd Columnist
February 8, 2011

culinary interviewYou only have to look at the phenomenon of top chefs to see that career cooking has gained popularity. Skilled chefs are getting more respect, compensation, and opportunities than ever before. When it comes to finding a high level culinary arts job, the competition can be fierce. Aside from the usual interview prerequisites of being on time, polite, well-groomed, honest and positive, follow these tips for a impressive interview.

Establish Why This is the Right Culinary Arts Job for You

Make sure you're a good fit for the job. If the position is out of line with your goals or experience, this quickly becomes apparent in the interview. Research the employer for information like cuisine style and track record. Not only can you discover if you're a good match, you can prepare intelligent questions for the interviewer. Be clear about why you want this job and why they should want you.

What to Focus on During Your Chef Interview

You don't have to be one of those world famous chefs to get a great job, but a healthy level of self-confidence helps. Concisely describe your strengths and successes that are relevant to the position. Be ready to answer questions about basic cooking, sanitation, or food safety. Know what to say if asked about areas where you'd like to improve. For instance, if it's easier for you to work independently, you might say that you're learning to communicate effectively in a team.

Interviewers like employees that are flexible. Give examples of situations in which you've demonstrated the ability to think on your feet. Practice answering questions and talking about yourself on videotape or with a friend. Shed nervous habits like saying "um" or touching your hair.

Culinary School Is a Plus

Whether it was a traditional or online culinary degree program, graduating from culinary school shows that you're self-motivated and can follow through with a long-term commitment. Remember to relay any professional kitchen internship experience.

Follow these tips and your culinary arts interview can be a place to shine.

About the Author

Olivia Tacelli is a freelance writer specializing in all things culinary. She has been a chef and caterer for 18 years, and has run her own whole foods cooking business, The Olive Tree, for 8 years.

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