How to Make the Most of Your Culinary Arts Interview

by Olivia Tacelli
CulinaryEd Columnist
February 8, 2011

culinary interviewWhen it comes to finding a high-level culinary arts job, the competition can be fierce. Aside from the usual interview prerequisites of being punctual, well-groomed, polite, honest and positive, these three tips can help you deliver an impressive interview.

1. 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.

2. What to Focus on During Your Chef Interview

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.

3. Culinary School Is a Plus

Whether it was a traditional or online culinary degree program, graduating from culinary school can help to show that you're self-motivated and able to 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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