Updated on August 17th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 24
How do you make sure food is used before expiration?
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An important part of your role as a kitchen helper is to ensure that food is not wasted or used when it should not be. Tell the hiring manager what measures you take to ensure that this does not happen.
"In order to avoid food waste and ensure that nothing expires prior to its use, I will correctly label all containers. I also utilize the first in, first out method when rotating the food in the fridge/freezer. I take this aspect of my role very seriously as food waste can greatly affect a restaurant's profitability."
Were you taught any kitchen safety lessons at your last job?
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Let the hiring manager know how well versed you are in kitchen safety. Being honest and transparent when it comes to your level of training will be important information if you are hired.
"I have a lot of training in kitchen safety, both formal and informal. In my most recent role I received one on one training with the chef and was tested on safety at the end of my day long training. It never hurts to be trained in safety and I am happy to take any additional training that you require."
Have you ever made improvements to the kitchen flow before? What were they and how did this benefit the kitchen?
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Having the confidence to suggest or implement change in the workplace is a great quality to have. Show the hiring manager that you are capable of bringing this attitude with you, should you be hired.
"In my previous position I created a new color coded labelling system that worked really well and reduced food waste by 8% in the first month. I had the idea and, with the help of the chef, we were able to make it work very well."
When answering this question you should talk a bit about your previous work history. Everyone has been late before but the hiring manager would like to know if this is a common occurrence for you.
"I was late for work twice in the past year. Those were due to transportation issues in the city which I could not have avoided. When you call my supervisor for a reference they will be able to confirm that I am very reliable and am on time."
6. What do you like the most about working in a kitchen? Letting the hiring manager know what aspects of your job you enjoy most will help them when placing you and training you. They want to know where you fit best, and where you are happiest. Here is an answer example: "The aspect that I enjoy most in the kitchen is working with a variety of new ingredients that I would normally never purchase for myself at home. Seeing how the chef works at creating new flavours is really great and I love the creativity involved."7. What do you know about our restaurant? Be sure to research the restaurant before your interview. You will want to see what their online reviews look like and what people are saying. Here is an answer example: "I have researched your restaurant and am really impressed with all of the positive reviews. People are talking about the food quality and the atmosphere. Your style of fusion is really unique and people are responding very positively!"8. Do you hope to be a chef one day? If you do want to be a chef one day, be sure to talk about your plan and how that might include the restaurant that you are currently interviewing with. Here is an answer example: "I am currently in culinary school and will be graduating in 2 years. I plan to become a chef one day and would really like the opportunity to do so within your restaurant. The style of cuisine your restaurant offers is of great interest to me and I would love to grow with you."9. Where did you get most of your kitchen working experience at? Provide the interviewer with an overview of your experience by taking a few minutes to talk about your resume. Here is an answer example: "My kitchen experience started 3 years ago when I joined XYZ Restaurant as a kitchen helper. I have been there for my entire restaurant career. I also bring experience from my current education in Culinary studies."10. This may seem like a rude question, but is your personal hygiene important to you, on a consistent basis? How so? Working in a kitchen, hygiene is of utmost importance. Let the hiring manager know that you are aware of this and talk about what you do to ensure that your hygiene is never offensive. Here is an answer example: "Working around food, and in such hot and close quarters as a kitchen, I am well aware of the importance of personal hygiene. I ensure that I come to work fresh every day."11. What high pressure, stressful situations have you been working in the kitchen in? How did you handle this? Give a brief example of a time that you found yourself in a difficult situation at work. Be sure to not speak poorly of anyone involved and keep the response positive. Here is an answer example: "In my previous position we would have half priced oysters every Thursday. This promotion created a lot of business but it was very high pressure to get the oysters out on time without neglecting the rest of the room and orders. At first we did have plates sent back quite frequently. The chef was pretty upset about it. I handled it by asking where I could step in to help with quality control. It all worked out well in the end."12. How do you handle stressful situations? Working in a kitchen requires a high tolerance to stress and pressure. Talk a bit about this and be sure to include an example of a time when you were complimented on your great ability to manage stress. Here is an answer example: "I am very good at handling stressful situations. Working in a kitchen for so many years, I am accustomed to pressure situations. My previous chef often complimented me on my ability to manage stress well. I'll take a quick breather throughout the day if needed and other than that, I just let things roll off my shoulders if they get too stressful."13. Have you ever called off work before? If so, what was your reason? When answering this question you should talk a bit about your previous work history. Everyone has called in before but the hiring manager would like to know how seriously you take your job. Here is an answer example: "Aside from booked vacation time, I called in sick once this past year. I did have a doctor's note and felt that being in a kitchen based environment while sick was not a healthy decision for others. When you call my supervisor for a reference they will be able to confirm that I am very reliable with my attendance."14. What Chef or Kitchen Leader taught you the most? Do you have a mentor or chef that you look up to? Perhaps it is someone that you have worked directly with, or maybe even a celebrity chef. Who has taught you the most about your profession as a kitchen helper? Here is an answer example: "I have learned a great deal from my current chef, Joseph. He is a red seal chef and once worked in a Michelin star restaurant. I also attribute a lot of my cooking and kitchen skills to watching and studying celebrity chef Ming Tsai. His style is swift and I love watching him work."15. What's your ideal company to work for? Researching the restaurant group prior to your interview will be very important. Draw on that knowledge and talk about how your ideal company is a match to what they offer. Here is an answer example: "My ideal company is a restaurant that prides themselves on creativity, quality ingredients and room for training and growth. From what I have read, your company offers all of these things."16. What kitchen experiences do you have? List the variety of roles you have been in or perhaps the types of cuisine that you have been exposed to. Here is an answer example: "I have a variety of kitchen experiences that range from faster food to fine dining. My roles have encompassed everything from dishwasher to prep cook."17. Tell me about food safety, your training in it, and why it is very important. Talk about your formal education and training as well as the informal training you have received. Here is an answer example: "I have a great deal of formal and informal food safety training from attending culinary school and from on-the-job experience. In addition to this, I am also food safety certified. Food safety is very important as it can make or break a restaurant. The health of your customers depends on your attention to food safety. It's a matter to be taken very seriously."18. What do you dislike the most about working in a kitchen? Everyone has something that they dislike about their job. That's normal to discuss but be sure not to dwell on your answer or turn the mood to a negative. Here is an answer example: "I really love most aspects of working in a kitchen. If I had to draw on a negative, I would say I most dislike when the synergy feels off with a team. It can happen if one individual is feeling particularly negative. When that happens I try to lighten the mood or just brush it off entirely."19. What task in the kitchen, do you have the most difficulty doing? Being honest about any areas you are light on experience in is okay. It gives the hiring manager an opportunity to plan your training or a better understanding of whom they should place you with during your initial training. Here is an answer example: "In the kitchen I do have some difficulty with the very finite details of plating. I have to learn to slow down a little bit and really get it right."20. Do you enjoy working with other people? Being a team player is very important in a kitchen environment. Tell the hiring manager about your ability to work well with others. You can use an example from your current or most recent position. Here is an answer example: "I really do enjoy working alongside others. In my current position I work with a team of 4 others, including the head chef. What I enjoy most about this team environment is that I am able to learn from everyone on a daily basis."21. Do you communicate well with others? Clear communication in the kitchen is of utmost importance. Give the hiring manager a positive example of your communication style. Here is an answer example: "I communicate very well with others. My kitchen experience has helped me learn to clearly listen and take direction. When something is required, I am sure to speak up and ensure that I am understood."22. Tell me about a time when someone has criticized your work. How did it make you feel? When given criticism or feedback, do you shut down or do you take the new information and work with it? Here is an answer example: "In my previous position, the sous chef was critical of my plating when I first started. I took that criticism and spent time after work watching cooking shows and YouTube videos in order to improve my plating skills. The chef was really happy with my improvement and I was thankful for his honesty."23. Why is this job important for you to get? Show in your answer that you are eager to work, and that you would be thankful for the opportunity should it be given to you. Here is an answer example: "I would be very thankful if chosen for this opportunity. The hours work perfectly with my college schedule and it would greatly help me financially. Also, the kitchen experience gained will be invaluable."24. In what areas of the kitchen, could you learn more or something new at? If hired, the manager will need to know what areas to focus on when they are training you. Letting them know where you could use additional training will help them when placing you. Here is an answer example: "I am well versed in many areas of the kitchen but if I had to point out a particular area where I could use additional training that would be proper knife sharpening techniques."
Author of Kitchen Helper Answers and Questions
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 09/20/2010 Last modified on: 08/17/2018
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