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Pastry Chef Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 21st, 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 30
How do you handle stressful situations?
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How to Answer
Picture yourself making flowers for a wedding cake, squeezing and molding fondant for hours. You prepare the cake exactly as requested by the client, but when they see it, they decide they want something different, and you only have two hours to get it together! As a pastry chef, you must learn to expect the unexpected! There are different types of stress in a job. In this role, you will need to be prepared to change gears at any given moment. You may find yourself kneading dough for two hours and then you're putting the details on the tiniest tarts while managing clients and staff.
30 Pastry Chef Interview Questions
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  1. How do you handle stressful situations?
  2. How do you handle conflict in the workplace?
  3. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
  4. Do you work well on a team? Or do you prefer to work on your own?
  5. Are you able to work overtime, weekends, and holidays?
  6. Preparing food in a kitchen requires working in confined spaces and sharing work areas. How will you deal with this environment?
  7. Which dessert is your favorite to make?
  8. What have you done in the past year to improve yourself?
  9. How do you make pastry cream?
  10. How would you describe your experience in culinary school?
  11. What ingredient do you feel is underutilized?
  12. What is the most rewarding part of being a pastry chef?
  13. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  14. What are your career goals?
  15. What is your greatest accomplishment?
  16. Why should we hire you?
  17. Why did you choose to become a pastry chef?
  18. What are some of your favorite flavor combinations?
  19. What inspired you to pursue baking professionally?
  20. How do you effectively manage your time?
  21. Are you a detail-oriented person?
  22. What is the most difficult part of being a pastry chef?
  23. Physically speaking, this is a very demanding role. Do you have the ability to stand for long periods of time?
  24. What food safety courses or certifications do you possess?
  25. Are there any celebrity pastry chef's that you admire or take inspiration from?
  26. Give me an example of a recipe you adapted to accommodate a food allergy.
  27. Tell me about a time you worked with a team to achieve a goal.
  28. Tell me about yourself.
  29. How would you react if a customer sent back one of your dishes?
  30. Tell me about your experience in the food industry.
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15 Pastry Chef Answer Examples
1.
How do you handle stressful situations?
Picture yourself making flowers for a wedding cake, squeezing and molding fondant for hours. You prepare the cake exactly as requested by the client, but when they see it, they decide they want something different, and you only have two hours to get it together! As a pastry chef, you must learn to expect the unexpected! There are different types of stress in a job. In this role, you will need to be prepared to change gears at any given moment. You may find yourself kneading dough for two hours and then you're putting the details on the tiniest tarts while managing clients and staff.
Rachelle's Answer
"I am experienced in keeping up with the fast pace of the kitchen and working with my staff to prepare the best quality baked goods."
2.
How do you handle conflict in the workplace?
Picture yourself in the back of the bakery in a tiny kitchen with no windows, tension rising high like the yeast in your sourdough bread! In a high-stress work environment with so many moving parts and people involved, you need to be able to keep your cool. This not only benefits you, but it also helps the morale of your team. When you're asked a question about dealing with conflict or overcoming a challenge, think of an example first. Having a concrete situation to draw from will help you to think through the steps you take to deal with conflict.
Rachelle's Answer
"My coworker and I had a misunderstanding about the schedule. We both got frustrated, so I took a step back and asked if we could talk about it when we are both calm so that the tension didn't escalate. The next day I pulled him aside and asked if we could talk. We both shared our sides of the story and realized it was just a miscommunication."
3.
Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
Even though you may have a great relationships with your boss, there will be times where you don't see eye to eye. Think of a conflict or disagreement you had with your boss where responded well, either by suggesting a compromise or taking a calm, relaxed stance when you could have responded in a heated tone. Compromise puts you in a great position with your boss, because it shows your desire to work together and your creative problem solving ability. If you share a situation where you could not find a common ground, discuss how you were willing to share your opinion and also willing to let your boss decide. This shows your humility and willingness to pick your battles, letting the small things slide to focus on more important issues.
4.
Do you work well on a team? Or do you prefer to work on your own?
When an interviewer asks a question like this, they are really interested in two things:
1) Are you flexible?
2) Can you manage yourself?

As a pastry chef, you will need to collaborate with your team when cooking and planning for meals and events. Working on a team requires you to be open and adaptive to working with people who are different from you. They may have different opinions and work styles. Even while working on a team you will need to be able to manage yourself by managing your time and prioritizing tasks just as you would when working alone. You might consider responding with, "I enjoy working on a team because I love getting input from my co-workers, but I also enjoy working independently." You can even share an example of a good experience you had when working on a team in culinary school or in your most recent restaurant job.
Rachelle's Answer
"I enjoy working on a team because I love getting input from my co-workers, but I also enjoy working independently."
5.
Are you able to work overtime, weekends, and holidays?
Pastry chefs often work long hours, starting in the wee hours of the morning and sometimes working through the night. You may work a 12-hour day or even multiple shifts in a day, taking breaks in between. Many pastry chefs work with event companies to provide cakes and other treats for weddings, galas, or catering events. Depending on the work environment, expect to work long hours with few breaks, especially before meals. Explain your availability, but be clear that you are willing to work whatever shifts they require. If you're not sure what to expect, ask! Every company is different.
6.
Preparing food in a kitchen requires working in confined spaces and sharing work areas. How will you deal with this environment?
Stay positive! Working in such small spaces can be extremely intense. If you're not careful, your bad attitude could rub off on someone else, and before you know it the whole team is down in the dumps! Be sure to express to the interviewer that you try not to take anything personally and you aim to stay in good spirits, even when things go wrong.
7.
Which dessert is your favorite to make?
When you go on a baking spree, do you crank out dozens of cookies or prefer to bake pies till your arms are sore from rolling out so many crusts? The only way you could make a mistake on this question is if you simply answer, 'I don't know.' Know your desserts! If it's difficult to decide, think about why you decided to become a pastry chef in the first place. Maybe you found yourself perfecting the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe, experimenting with different types of milk and flour. Or maybe when you get that sugar craving, you rush to the pantry to gather all of the best ingredients for your favorite gooey brownie recipe. Share what you like to bake and why!
8.
What have you done in the past year to improve yourself?
Share something you have done that has helped you in your personal and professional life. Learning to slow down and manage stress better is a good example. You can share tools and tips you are applying to your life that have helped you to be more effective at your job. You could even share a weakness that you are working on and how making this improvement has helped you so far. This will show that you are proactive by making changes to help you move forward and have a positive outlook on life.
9.
How do you make pastry cream?
There are numerous terms that you will need to be familiar with and know how to make as a pastry chef. Pastry cream is typically used as a filling for cream puffs, cakes, and donuts. It's so sweet and tasty, you may find yourself eating it by the spoonful! If you're not sure how to make pastry cream, take a look online at some recipes or videos and then head over to the kitchen to get baking!
10.
How would you describe your experience in culinary school?
The interviewer wants to know about the highlights of your education. Take some time before your interview to reflect on what you learned and the experiences that shaped you. Here's an example answer:

"I learned so much from my time at Le Cordon Bleu. The instructors were amazing and inspiring, and my peers really challenged me to focus and express my creativity. I learned the importance of precision and the value of trusting your instincts."

Get as specific as you can to show what you learned and help paint a picture of your experience. This will show that you are ready and qualified for the role!
Rachelle's Answer
"I learned so much from my time at Le Cordon Bleu. The instructors were amazing and inspiring, and my peers really challenged me to focus and express my creativity. I learned the importance of precision and the value of trusting your instincts."
11.
What ingredient do you feel is underutilized?
The interviewer wants to get an idea of your style. If you have a preference on baking sweet or savory goodies, think about a special ingredient you enjoy using that you think could be used more frequently. It could be lemon zest, cinnamon or maybe almond extract. Maybe you like pumpkin in everything! It's all a matter of preference. Be sure to give a couple of examples of recipes you have crafted using this special ingredient.
12.
What is the most rewarding part of being a pastry chef?
Think about what makes you happy to come to work every day. Talk to the interviewer about your favorite part of your job as a pastry chef.
Rachelle's Answer
"I enjoy the fact that I get to be creative on a daily basis. The fast pace of a kitchen is exhilarating and each day goes by so incredibly fast."
13.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
The interviewer wants to find out if you think about the future when you think about your job as a pastry chef. It's important to have some professional goals, so if you don't have a clue where you want to be in five years just yet, take some time to think about it! Your goals can be as simple as, "I want to start my own business in a few years after I get more experience in the industry." Focus your response on ways that the position you're interviewing for will help you to achieve this goal. Think about some of the other steps you'll need to take in order to get there. Identify how this position will equip you with the skills and experience you need to be successful!
Rachelle's Answer
"I want to start my own business in a few years after I get more experience in the industry."
14.
What are your career goals?
You may plan to continue working as a pastry chef for a long time. Maybe you are interested in moving into managing catering events or even opening your own bakery. Your goal could also be to further your training, studying under some of the best chefs in the country. Showing that you are interested in growing on a personal and a professional level is important to convey to your interviewer.
Rachelle's Answer
"My goal is to work with a wedding planner at an event company, so I have been baking wedding cakes for friends. I'm looking forward to the challenge of preparing a wide variety of pastries and baked goods at this job. I love working in an environment where I am constantly learning new things!"
15.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Pastry chefs are required to meet tight deadlines every day! It's amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it! Give an example of an achievement that shows you take initiative to accomplish your goals.
Rachelle's Answer
"Even though I am passionate about baking, I knew that culinary school would be a challenge. In order to achieve my goal of becoming a pastry chef, I gave myself a time frame for school and was realistic about how I would be able to complete the training while working full time. I set a deadline for when I wanted to complete my certification and I worked hard at my internship to learn as much as I could!"
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