Tips for Sous Chef Interviews: Who Will Run The Kitchen?

Tips for Sous Chef Interviews: Who Will Run The Kitchen?

During an interview, hiring managers ask you all kind of questions to ascertain how you are as a worker. Companies invest a lot of time and resources when they are trying to fill a position. When they find a new hire, they also have to invest more time and training to get that person to the level that they need them to operate.

To minimize this expense of resources, they need a candidate that is as close to their expectations.

A part of that process means they ask any number of questions to see what type of worker you are, and what are your strengths and weaknesses. Usually, candidates are not fully prepared for this question, because to be honest, who wants to disclose their weakness.

No one does! And as such, you could possibly give an undesirable answer.

Continue reading as we investigate the tips for Sous Chef interviews, this will help to get you prepared for your restaurant and hotel jobs.

Do Due Diligence on the Company

An important practice is researching the restaurant, hotel or company’s background and finding out any relevant information about their business. Doing this helps to equip you before you are bombarded by questions from the hiring manager.

Go online and visit their website. Read the content, especially their “About Page” information. If you know about the company, you can best tell how you can be of benefit to them.

You can also volley pertinent questions to the interviewer, and this will better show that you are interested in the company.

Finally, examine your contact list and social networks. See if you know anyone who is affiliated with the restaurant or hotel in some way, or works there. Contact them and ask questions. The information might just give you an edge during the interview process.

The Top 25 Questions Asked in Sous Chef Interview

Some questions are asked right across all industries. It does not matter which job you are being interviewed for and to which company. That is why it is necessary that you provide yourself with the best answers.

sous chef

According to Top Chefs, these some of the Most Asked Chef Interview Questions.

  • 1
    “Tell me a little about yourself.”
  • 2
    “What do you enjoy most in your current (or most recent) job?”
  • 3
    “What do you enjoy least in your current (or most recent) job?”
  • 4
    “Out of all the other candidates, why should we hire you?
  • 5
    “Why do you want this job?”
  • 6
    “What would you say are your strengths?”
  • 7
    “What would you say are your weaknesses?”
  • 8
    “What do you like to do outside of work?”
  • 9
    “Why did you apply for this job?”
  • 10
    “What do you see yourself doing in five years time?”
  • 11
    “What is your greatest career achievement?”
  • 12
    “Why do you want to leave your current/previous job?”
  • 13
    “How would your colleagues say about you?”
  • 14
    “What single thing would you most like to change about your current job?”
  • 15
    “What has been the biggest career disappointment?”
  • 16
    “Do you prefer to work alone or with colleagues?”
  • 17
    “What other job have you applied for recently?”
  • 18
    “What is your reaction to criticism?”
  • 19
    “How does this chef job sound to you?”
  • 20
    “What is your current boss like?”
  • 21
    “Why should we give the job to you?”
  • 22
    “In what environment do you work best?”
  • 23
    “What are your hobbies?”
  • 24
    “When was the last time you cried?”
  • 25
    “Do you have any questions that you would like us to answer?”

Prepare Adequately for Sous Chef Interviews

business attire

Regardless of whether Sous Chef job interviews are on the informal side, that does not mean that you ought not to be professional at all times. If anything, it is for that reason that you must maintain a sense of preparedness.

According to any Sous Chef, which operate in “commercial-grade kitchens need the food preparation skills, health and safety knowledge and leadership skills.”

They are necessary to perform at your peak in a demanding kitchen. “For the interview, prepare to speak about your kitchen experience and personal cooking style, as well as any formal culinary education. Employers may also quiz you on foundational cooking recipes, proportions, and what changes you would make to an existing menu.”

The Competition Should Never Be at the Forefront of Your Mind

Your main objective is to be respected and liked by the hiring manager or agent. Your interest in working with their company must be projected and this will reassure them of any uncertainties that they might have.


Also, when informed of the salary and benefits package, consider it seriously. If this is not to your liking, then thank them for their time and chose another alternative. Intermittently some recruitment agents are in no way innocent, when it comes to promoting irrational expectations. But, you can also ask about early salary reviews, commissions or bonuses.

Don’t Forget that You Are in an Interview

The people at Chef Professional can attest to having encountered more than their share of ill-prepared Sous Chefs. This is why they advise candidates to “Behave professionally, take off your hat, lose the gum and turn off the cell phone. For a few minutes, your complete attention belongs to the interviewer.”

“Do not gripe, demean or libel. Take care of your issues at your current position at that place. Carry a positive attitude to your interview. If you are doing all of the work which should be done by the General Manager or the Executive Chef and are not being paid for it, this should be presented as a learning opportunity, not as exploitation by ruthless slave drivers and egomaniacs. Do not go into an interview smelling of food, alcohol or smoke. If you have a meal before an interview, do not drink alcohol. If you must smoke before an interview, do it in an open space, so your clothes do not smell.”

What to Do in the case of a Working Interview

If you are working in the kitchen, sometimes you will be asked to prove your expertise. This might involve being there for a few days.

head chef

Make sure that you know what is expected of you.

Ask all the Relevant Questions.

Employees with little to no experience are often asked to do a trial. The employer will get a better sense of your capabilities without offering any guarantees.

Generally, you will have to shadow some member of the team and do their tasks with them. Sometimes, this might simply mean that you are a literal shadow, but not required to do the actual job. In that case, you might not be paid for your time and efforts.

Where a Sous Chef will run the kitchen, the owners might ask that you prepare a meal, as a test. In addition, you can be asked to prepare your own menu also. Then they have a night or day, where a “Market Testing” is done. People will come and on that day, they try out any of the meals that you have recommended or prepared.

question mark

But where there are uncertainties, always ask the company what they expect. Do not make any assumptions. You can eliminate yourself as a candidate by doing this.

Ask questions such as “Am I to do a market tasting? Or would you rather I prepare and pre-prep a menu?”

If they are being vague, insist on a clear answer. This is the segment where your efforts directly affect the outcome. Regardless, take your own knives with you.

Being Paid For Your Efforts

It is certainly expected that you be paid if you are taking over someone else’s job for a few days. Sometimes chefs go on leave and that provides an opportunity for you to step in and shine.

Before securing the job, they might just offer you a fraction of the salary for that period. Nonetheless, you must be offered some payment. And on your side, think about whether this is a feasible amount for your time.


There are states that do not allow, “Suffering” unpaid labor.

Where you are asked to cater for a party or dinner, whether it is private or in a domestic setting, ask politely whether you will be paid. Clearly inform the person that you are willing to do a test run, but only if you are given some payment. And be open to accepting an amount that is reduced.

On a Final Note

You will probably feel a sense of ease or relief as you move towards ending the interview. However, try to ascertain some information about the other stages of the recruitment process. That means asking the hiring manager about what is next.

Find out, if you should or can follow up. Ask for a decision timeline.

Remember to send a thank you note or a follow up letter in a few days. If some time has passed, it is also advised to give them a call. Restaurants and hotels that work with Sous Chefs can get hectic. So, following up is always good and appreciated. Just do not overdo it or else it could backfire.

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