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How to prepare for your interview as a chef

Posted: May 18, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Whether you’re looking to take the first step on your career ladder as a trainee chef or you’re stepping up to find a new role as a Head Chef, you’ll need to attend an interview to prove your skills and experience in the industry. Here’s some tips on how to prepare for the interview so you’re ready for any questions asked.


Preparing for the big day

If you’re going to an interview through a recruitment agency, talk to them about the employer and find out as much as you can as far ahead as is possible. Find the website of the business and look at every aspect; the menu offerings, opening hours, the gallery of photos if available and reviews from diners. Never ignore information which is publicly available as it’s important to know how the company operates and how your knowledge and love of food will fit in.

Research, research and more research

Find the location if you’re not already familiar with it. Google office-625893_640Streetview the area so you know the building you’re looking for and – if relevant – where the nearest parking is so you’re not fighting for a space and eventually being late or finding the nearest car park is a 15 minute walk away. If you’re travelling by public transport, know the timetables and have alternative travel plans ready in case  there’s an emergency such as roadworks on particular bus routes or the underground stop is closed if you’re in London.

Be prepared

Decide what you are going to take with you. If not Portrait of happy office worker looking at cameraalready asked for, take copies of your references to hand in. Also take the originals of certificates of relevant qualifications for photocopying and also take some ID with you if not already asked for beforehand; there is legislation in place in the UK regarding proof of eligibility to work which means providing certaintypes of identification.

Decide what you are going to wear. Whilst you won’t be wearing a suit in the kitchen, it will pay to look as smart as possible at the interview. You won’t be marked down for wearing one but you will be if you turn up looking overly casual.

On arrival

Never turn up late or literally to the minute the interview is due to start. Be early by around 10-15 minutes as it gives you the opportunity to relax a little, think about what you want to say about your suitability and also to take in the environment of the eating area. If possible, have a read of the menu if to hand and a look at the daily specials board if possible to get even more of a flavour of the kind of food prepared.

The impression of the interview panelmeeting-593301_640

The aim of the interview is to show you’re the best person for the job. Aside from qualifications, skills and experience, you need to ensure the employer is interested in you as a person and to like you enough to think you’ll fit in as part of the kitchen culture you want to join.

The way to think is to not be concerned with the other candidates, only think about being liked and that you are creating an environment of respect from the potential employer. Show you’re interested in the role from the moment the interview begins by listening to the questions and matching your answers to the information being sought. One of the most off-putting traits an interview candidate can display is avoiding the question with an obviously pre-thought out answer which sounds great but is irrelevant. This happens more than you’d think and shows the panel that they don’t have someone in front of them with the full skillset required and they aren’t being completely upfront as they are dodging the questions being asked.


Plan in advance, do your research, think about why you’re the best person for the job and by the time the interview starts you’ll be feeling ready to impress. Keep to the topics of conversation, promote your experience and skills and have lots of anecdotal evidence of how you’ve achieved your success to date as well as showing that you’re a great person and you’ll be top of the list of who to choose by the end of the day.