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Sous Chef Interview Questions
The Sous Chef is the Executive Chef’s second-in-command. They have typically been a line cook first and are expected to be the best cook in the kitchen. They may have a formal apprenticeship under their belts, or professional chef accreditation. Below, you’ll find interview questions that you can use to hire the best sous chef for your team. Feel free to alter them based on the actual working environment. For example, being a Sous Chef in a fine dining restaurant is will be a different experience from being a Sous Chef for a private setting such as a party or a family dinner.
Sous Chefs assist the Executive Chef in all things, including bookkeeping and administrative work. If new cooks have to be trained on a specific cooking technique, it is the Sous Chef who will do this — not the Executive Chef. The Sous Chef will be expected to step in if the Executive Chef is unavailable. This person should have a strong personality and be able to win the trust and respect of their colleagues.
Use the answers to these situational questions to get a sense of your candidate’s ambition, experience, communication skills and commitment to good work. Beyond these verbal interview questions to ask a chef, typically for this role employers will want to see proof of hard skills. Some evaluation methods include a working interview, which involves having candidates follow restaurant staff as they do their job. Skills tests may include preparing a market tasting, pre-prepping and executing a menu or a “secret basket” test where candidates prepare a meal out of some surprise ingredients. A hybrid method is how to interview a chef that will result in a successful and well-rounded hire.
Operational and Situational questions
- What advice would you give to someone new at being a Sous Chef?
- What actions have you taken bring food and labor costs in line?
- What are your career goals? How does getting this job support your goals?
- What would you do if you caught a coworker violating food safety standards?
- How would you rate yourself as an instructor? What cooking techniques have you taught other line cooks?
- How much experience do you have with multicultural or multilingual teams?
- Have you ever had to discipline a coworker? What was the situation? What was the outcome?
- How would you control the quality of food that is being sent out to customers?
- What would you do if there was a an emergency or safety hazard in the kitchen? Say, a grease fire?
- Describe a time a customer sent food back to the kitchen while you were in charge.
- How do you handle ingredient substitutions?
- How have you accommodated special diets, such as a gluten-free diet?
- Describe a time you went above and beyond to please a customer.