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Seven Essential Interview Questions for Hiring a Skilled Sous Chef

Posted: May 16, 2024
Author: Robert Krzak
Restaurant Management
Hospitality Executive
Hotel And Private Club

Seven Essential Interview Questions for Hiring a Skilled Sous Chef

The Sous Chef plays a crucial role as the second-in-command to the Head Chef, with significant responsibilities in ensuring the smooth operation of the kitchen. As such, it’s essential to assess a candidate's credentials and ability to fulfill this role successfully during the interview process. The key to achieving this is by asking the right questions tailored to the position.

If you're currently searching for a Sous Chef to join your kitchen team, it's vital to give careful thought to the interview questions you'll ask. Taking the time to prepare relevant questions beforehand will ensure that you gain a comprehensive understanding of each candidate's capabilities and potential fit for the position. To assist you in this process, we've compiled seven ready-to-use Sous Chef interview questions that you should consider asking.

  • #1. Suppose you caught an employee breaking a food safety regulation. What steps would you take? By posing this question, you can assess the candidate’s ability as a sous chef and key employee in the kitchen to uphold food safety standards.
  • #2. In light of the current seasonal trends, how would you modify our menu to keep up with the changing demands of our customers? This question aims to evaluate the candidate’s experience in menu planning and their familiarity with your restaurant’s offerings. An experienced sous chef should be considering seasonality, cost control and pricing, waste prevention as well as pace/speed.
  • #3. Suppose you were faced with an angry customer who was dissatisfied with their food. How would you handle the situation and attempt to resolve the issue? This question allows you to gauge the candidate’s communication and interpersonal skills, as well as their customer service focus.
  • #4. Suppose a customer had specific dietary requirements, such as gluten-free or vegan. How would you accommodate their needs while still maintaining the quality and taste of the dish? This query aims to assess the candidate’s previous experience and knowledge in handling special dietary requests.
  • #5. What restaurant software programs have you worked with previously, and to what extent are you familiar with them? This will reveal the candidate’s extent of knowledge and usage of software programs relevant to the role. You should be looking for a sous chef that (obviously) can cook and produce high quality meals, but also someone who is business-savvy as this is a business-intensive position.
  • #6. Can you describe a past experience where you successfully resolved a conflict with a challenging employee? What were the problems, and how did you manage to achieve a favorable outcome? This question provides insights into the candidate’s management style and leadership capabilities.
  • #7. What are your opinions on the importance of training and mentoring new hires in the restaurant industry, and how have you implemented these practices in the past? A vital task for a Sous Chef is to train and mentor junior chefs in the kitchen. This question helps determine the candidate’s perspective on the role and their commitment to the development of their team.

Taking the time to prepare and ask these specific questions will help you gain valuable insights into each candidate’s qualifications, experience, and ability to take on the responsibilities of a Sous Chef effectively.

Robert Krzak
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