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Pastry Chef interview questions and answers

This Pastry Chef interview profile brings together a snapshot of what to look for in candidates with a balanced sample of suitable interview questions. Similar job titles include Chef.

Christine Del Castillo
Christine Del Castillo

Former Community Manager at Workable specialized in employee experience, talent brands and our event series, Workable Ideas.

pastry-chef

10 good Pastry Chef interview questions

  1. What inspired you to be a professional pastry chef?
  2. What highlights from your training or experience are most relevant for this role?
  3. What are some of your favorite flavor combinations?
  4. When you’re not at work, where do you go for great pastry?
  5. How would you prepare pastry cream?
  6. What techniques were most important in preparing [this sample dish]?
  7. What made you select these sample dishes for this interview?
  8. How do you manage your time when you receive multiple dessert orders at once?
  9. What are some common substitutions for diabetic and vegan pastry recipes?
  10. What would you do if you accidentally burnt an entire batch of pastries before an important event?

Here are 10 essential interview questions and sample answers to help identify the best candidates for this role.

1. What inspired you to be a professional pastry chef?

This question aims to understand the candidate’s motivation and passion for the field.

Sample answer:

“I was always fascinated by the art of baking. The idea of transforming simple ingredients into something extraordinary captivated me, and I knew I wanted to make it my career.”

2. What highlights from your training or experience are most relevant for this role?

This question seeks to gauge the candidate’s qualifications and how they align with the job requirements.

Sample answer:

“I trained at Le Cordon Bleu and have worked in a Michelin-starred restaurant. My experience in fine dining has honed my skills in creating intricate and flavorful desserts.”

3. What are some of your favorite flavor combinations?

This question explores the candidate’s creativity and understanding of flavors.

Sample answer:

“I love the classic combination of chocolate and orange. I also enjoy experimenting with herbs like basil and thyme to create unique flavors.”

4. When you’re not at work, where do you go for great pastry?

This question aims to understand the candidate’s appreciation for the craft outside of their own kitchen.

Sample answer:

“I often visit local bakeries and patisseries to get inspired. One of my favorite places is a small French bakery that makes an incredible almond croissant.”

5. How would you prepare pastry cream?

This question assesses the candidate’s technical knowledge and skill in making a basic yet essential component.

Sample answer:

“I start with high-quality ingredients. I heat the milk and vanilla in a saucepan, then whisk egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl. I slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture, then cook it until it thickens.”

6. What techniques were most important in preparing [this sample dish]?

This question gauges the candidate’s technical skills and attention to detail.

Sample answer:

“For the lemon tart, the most important techniques were creating a flaky crust and achieving the right balance of tartness and sweetness in the filling.”

7. What made you select these sample dishes for this interview?

This question aims to understand the candidate’s strategic thinking and how they present themselves.

Sample answer:

“I chose dishes that showcase a range of skills—from basic pastry cream to intricate plating techniques. They also reflect my personal style.”

8. How do you manage your time when you receive multiple dessert orders at once?

This question assesses the candidate’s ability to work under pressure and manage time effectively.

Sample answer:

“I prioritize tasks based on cooking times and complexity. I also delegate tasks to my team to ensure everything runs smoothly.”

9. What are some common substitutions for diabetic and vegan pastry recipes?

This question explores the candidate’s knowledge of dietary restrictions and alternative ingredients.

Sample answer:

“For diabetic recipes, I often use Stevia or monk fruit as a sugar substitute. For vegan recipes, I use coconut milk and flaxseeds as egg replacements.”

10. What would you do if you accidentally burnt an entire batch of pastries before an important event?

This question aims to gauge the candidate’s problem-solving skills and ability to handle stressful situations.

Sample answer:

“I would quickly assess the time and ingredients available. If possible, I’d start a new batch immediately. Otherwise, I’d come up with an alternative dessert that can be prepared quickly.”

What does a good pastry chef candidate look like?

A strong pastry chef candidate should have a blend of technical skills, creativity, and a passion for the craft. They should be able to work well under pressure, manage a team, and adapt to different dietary needs.



Pastry Chef Interview Questions

For all creative roles, including that of the Pastry Chef, your most important criteria for selection are work samples. Next, look into culinary training and proven work experience in your exact environment (restaurants, for instance). Interview candidates should be ready with a culinary portfolio of past creations. Hiring managers may even ask candidates to prepare a pastry dish on the spot, or request candidates to bring samples to the interview.

Use the portfolio and the samples as conversation starters. You’re trying to get a sense of their creativity, their approach to pastry, and their alignment with your pastry chef needs. Do you need a chef to do high volume pastry? Supervise a team of other chefs? Bake specifically French traditional pastries? Feel free to add your own questions to tailor the interview to the exact work environment and responsibilities.

Finally, the interview is a great opportunity to assess the character of your candidates. How well do they handle stress? How would they handle a crisis at work? Do they do work well in teams? Since this is still a hospitality role, are they service-oriented? Getting the answers to these questions should be your goal.

Let’s summarize some of the questions and add a few more divided into specific types.

Operational and Situational questions

  • What inspired you to be a professional pastry chef?
  • What highlights from your training or experience are most relevant for this role?
  • What are some of your favorite flavor combinations?
  • When you’re not at work, where do you go for great pastry?
  • How would you prepare pastry cream?
  • What techniques were most important in preparing [this sample dish]?
  • What made you select these sample dishes for this interview?
  • How do you manage your time when you receive multiple dessert orders at once?
  • What are some common substitutions for diabetic and vegan pastry recipes?
  • What would you do if you accidentally burnt an entire batch of pastries before an important event?
  • You’re preparing a dish and it turns out that there are missing ingredients. How would you handle it?
  • How would you react if a customer sent back one of your dishes?
  • How well do you handle having to share your work space with others?
  • Describe a time you had to work with a team to achieve a shared goal.
  • The kitchen is a busy, fast-paced, often stressful environment. How do you cope with stress?
  • How does this position fit into your career goals?

Frequently asked questions

Ready to fine-tune this interview kit?
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