Becoming a Chef in the UK: Interview Tips

Becoming a Chef in the UK: Interview Tips

Becoming a Chef in the UK: Interview Tips

Preparing for a career in the culinary industry involves a substantial amount of study and hands-on hard work. Despite all the time and effort you’ve invested in training and honing your craft in the kitchen, that may not even be the most difficult part of embarking on the journey to becoming a chef in the UK. Once you’ve obtained the necessary skills to go job seeking, you still need to successfully make it through the interview.

You may find it incredibly nerve-wracking to present yourself in the right light to potential employers, there is a method to the madness. Being well prepared can mean the difference between making a whiz-bang impression and slinking out with your tail between your legs.

Becoming a Chef in the UK: Interview Tips

If you plan beforehand for how you will handle tough chef interview questions, you will be able to put out a confident and knowledgeable vibe that’s sure to help you land the job.

First Things First

Regardless of whether you’re interviewing to be a caterer, commis chef, chef de partie, sous chef, or kitchen manager, you want to follow some basic guidelines:

  • Research the establishment and be ready with some questions of your own
  • Read the menu and plan a dish to prepare, practising in advance
  • Wear clean, pressed clothing (bring along fresh chef whites if going to a working interview)
  • Plan to arrive a few minutes early, accounting for unexpected traffic or other delays
  • Turn your mobile phone off
  • Always shake hands with the interviewer, and politely accept a drink if offered
  • Use proper grammar and refrain from slang or swears

If you’re attending a working interview, engage as part of the team. Furthermore, it is good practice to request tasks rather than standing around when you don’t have anything to do.

The STAR Method

There are always going to be difficult situational interview questions, particularly when seeking a job as a chef, in the UK or anywhere else in the world because you are working in close quarters in cooperation with other staff. Situational questions are those used to determine how you respond to specific situations that may come up during the course of a work shift.

The STAR method is a great way to prepare for handling these tough questions. This acronym stands for:

Situation

Task

Action

Result

The benefit of using STAR is that it creates an organised way of presenting your experience and problem-solving skills. Allowing you to answer situational questions without fumbling to put your thoughts together. It allows you to prepare to some extent, so that when faced with a question such as “How do you handle working under extreme time pressures?”, you can be ready to present a situation in which this happened to you at work, what task you had to complete, the action you took to complete the task and the result of your actions.

Potential Chef Interview Questions

While situational questions are tougher to prepare for, there are other inquiries that are fairly typically asked by most employers interviewing someone who seeks to become a chef in the UK. These may include:

  • What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What type of personality would you describe yourself as?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or in conjunction with a team?
  • What kind of salary are you looking for?
  • Where do you see yourself several years down the road, career-wise?
  • What activities do you enjoy besides cooking?
  • Do you need any specific holidays or routine days off?

Consequently, your education is only half the battle when it comes to securing a culinary job in the UK. Being self-confident and prepared will put you over that edge and give you a leg up on your competition.

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