How To Hire A Chef

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Many new restaurant owners believe that when looking to hire a chef, they should evaluate each candidate solely based on their cooking abilities. While finding a chef that prepares delicious meals is important, there are many other qualities to look for. Business owners should find someone that has great attention to detail, can train staff members, knows how to manage inventory, and much more. In this informative guide, we provide you with details on how to hire a chef to ensure you find the right person for the job.

What Kind Of Chef Are You Looking For?

There are various kinds of chefs working in the same kitchen and each individual has different responsibilities. This makes it essential to understand the different roles each chef has so you know the kind of chef your business needs.

Executive Chef

An executive chef plays a big part in creating and maintaining a restaurant’s identity because they manage the daily operations in the kitchen. They are in charge of monitoring the quality of food, ensuring employees follow food safety regulations, purchasing food and supplies from vendors, and developing menus. Many restaurant owners also allow executive chefs to hire kitchen personnel since the head chefs are responsible for training and supervising kitchen employees.


  • Ability to manage an entire kitchen
  • Exceptional budgeting skills to control costs
  • Capable of managing multiple tasks at once
  • Keeps up-to-date with food industry trends

Sous Chef

As second in command, sous chefs are responsible for assisting executive chefs. The role of a sous chef may vary depending on the responsibilities the head chef has assigned them. However, second chefs are typically in charge of creating schedules for kitchen employees, monitoring and recording inventory, resolving issues customers may have, and managing the kitchen in the executive chef’s absence.


  • Understands various cooking methods
  • Quickly handles emergency situations in the kitchen
  • Ability to work under pressure and handle multiple tasks
  • Excellent communication skills to guide kitchen staff members

Station Chef

There are typically multiple station chefs, also known as chef de parties, in a kitchen and they work under sous chefs. Each chef de partie specializes in a certain portion of the menu and ensures that those menu items are prepared at the highest level of quality. Each type of station chef is an expert in a specific field and is responsible for completing certain tasks.

  • Butcher chefs prepare cuts of meats and poultry for other stations to cook.
  • Fish chefs cook and prepare all seafood dishes. Some fish chefs may be responsible for purchasing seafood from vendors.
  • Grill chefs prepare meats and vegetables that need to be grilled.
  • Pantry chefs order and stock food for cold stations. They are also responsible for preparing cold dishes and garnishing meals.
  • Pastry chefs are in charge of preparing all of the dishes on the dessert menu.
  • Sauce chefs prepare sauces for the majority of meals. Most sauce chefs also prepare soups and stews.
  • Vegetable chefs cook vegetables and starches. A number of establishments also have vegetable chefs prepare soups.

Since each type of station chef requires specific qualifications and skills, it’s important to find a candidate that specializes in the field you’re looking to hire. Finding chefs with the right skill set ensures that station chefs you hire are qualified for the position and allow the executive chef to properly train station chefs.

How To Write A Chef Job Description

Once you know the type of chef you’re looking to hire, it’s time to find the perfect candidate. When creating a chef job post, your goal is to write a detailed description of the position so job seekers know if they are qualified for the position. There are 5 sections you should include in the chef job posting so applicants can understand exactly what you’re looking for.

  1. Job title: Be specific when writing the job title as it allows job seekers to understand the type of chef you’re looking for.
  2. About the restaurant: Provide chefs with an introduction to your restaurant. Write your mission statement and core values in a few sentences so candidates know what to expect from the company.
  3. Responsibilities: Include detailed examples of what is expected from this position on a day-to-day basis. This section tends to be long so make sure to organize this section using bullets.
  4. Qualifications: Lay out specific requirements for this position. Whether it’s years of experience in the kitchen or the ability to fluently speak a specific language, let chefs know what you’re looking for.
  5. How to apply: Inform chefs on the best ways to apply for the position. Some business owners like for candidates to apply at their restaurant while others prefer for chefs to submit applications online.

Chef Interview Questions

When interviewing potential chefs for your foodservice establishment, it’s important to ask the right questions. It will allow you to quickly identify the strongest candidates, guaranteeing you hire someone that will have success at your restaurant. The following list includes a set of questions to ask during the interview to ensure you find the most qualified chef for the position:

  1. Did you go to culinary school? If not, how did you receive training?
  2. Why did you decide to become a chef?
  3. Why do you think food safety practices are important? What are some practices that you follow?
  4. Have you dined at our restaurant before? If you have, what was your experience like and what would you do differently?
  5. What skills do you bring to the table that will help us run an effective kitchen?
  6. How do you like to run a kitchen?
  7. What was a difficult situation you experienced in the kitchen and how did you handle it?
  8. Which chefs do you look up to? What do you admire about them?
  9. How do you stay up-to-date on industry news and trends?
  10. If you saw that food costs were high, how would you recommend that we fix the issue?

Evaluate Your Candidates

After interviewing numerous candidates, you probably have a couple of applicants that bring exactly what you’re looking for to the table. To make sure you choose the right person for the job, there are a few ways you can further evaluate candidates.

Do Online Research

Don’t be afraid of researching potential candidates. Searching for public information online provides you with an easy way to learn about their professional accomplishments. You’ll also be able to see if they’ve taken part in any interviews, allowing you to find out how they conduct themselves when speaking to the press. Although they may not talk to reporters when working at your restaurant, this gives you an idea of how they would speak to customers.

In addition, consider searching for candidates’ social media profiles. Many of them like to share their culinary creations, giving you an idea of what they enjoy preparing and how they present dishes. This also gives you the opportunity to find out if they are posting offensive content. If you discover that they use social media to share content that doesn’t follow your company’s values, then you’ll know that they aren’t the right fit for the position.

Reach Out To Their References

Conducting reference checks is an essential step during the hiring process. Speaking to candidates’ former managers allows you to understand how they performed in the kitchen, worked with other chefs, handled stressful situations, and much more. With the information provided, you’ll be able to determine which applicants are qualified and a great match for the position.

Conduct A Tasting Interview

Over the years, it has become extremely popular for foodservice establishments to conduct tasting interviews. These tasting tests allow restaurant owners to learn how candidates handle pressure and if they are able to quickly adapt to any situation. You’ll also be able to know if they follow proper food safety practices, how they plate meals, and how their dishes taste.

When conducting a tasting interview, you need to know exactly what you’d like the applicant to prepare. Provide them with the proper ingredients and ensure they have all the tools they need to prepare the dish. Your goal is to make sure they can comfortably prepare whatever dish you have requested and set them up for success.

Time To Find The Right Chef For Your Establishment

Before creating a job post for an opening at your establishment, think about exactly what your business needs. Simply letting job seekers know that you’re looking for a chef isn’t enough. Be specific when creating a job post so applicants can quickly tell if they are interested in the role. Once you have a list of candidates that you’re interested in, conduct interviews and reach out to their references to ensure you find the right chef for the job.

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