Preparing for an interview is always a challenge (and slightly nerve wracking), but facing pastry chef interview questions can be even more difficult. Unlike other professions, these meetings rarely follow a standard format – which means you need to prepare for the unexpected. In fact, when you become a pastry chef, be prepared to face tough questions and multiple interviews with management and high-level kitchen staff.
Commonly Asked Questions
Most pastry chef interview questions are covered over the span of several interviews. The first session with the employer will cover a mix of generalized and specific questions about dessert creation, presentation and baking techniques. In most cases, expect a second and possibly third interview with higher level executive chefs and management. Some of the most commonly asked questions include:
- Are you able to multi-task and manage your time effectively when receiving dessert orders, baking, and creating a properly presented dish?
- Preparing food in a kitchen requires working in confined spaces and sharing work areas. Do you feel you can handle this environment and how will you deal with these restrictions?
- Are you willing to learn specific restaurant recipes and prepare them using the techniques taught at this establishment?
- Name substitutions used for diabetic and vegan pastry chef recipes.
- Are you willing to prepare custom dessert orders in large quantities if the need arises?
- Are you able to work extended hours, come in early mornings, stay or come in for overtime, work weekends and work holidays?
- Do you work well independently, on your own or does your style include a mixture of both?
- Do you have strong math and reading skills? (Some establishments will require you to take a test to demonstrate your math and reading abilities.)
- How would you prepare a (enter dessert or pastry dish name)?
- What is an acceptable substitute for (name of ingredient) when baking?
If the prospective employer feels you are one of the top candidates for the position, you will be asked to return for a second interview. During the next session, be prepared to face executive chef interview questions – which often cover baking techniques, tools and presentation methods. In some cases, this meeting will be a combination interview, requiring you to respond to questions and prepare a sample dessert.
Preparing a Portfolio
Be prepared to answer more than questions during a pastry chef interview. Individuals that are applying for an opportunity that requires several years of experience are often asked to display a culinary portfolio of their previous creations. Photographs used in this display should be large enough to see details of the dessert creation – and in most cases should be larger than a traditional 3x5in image. If your pastry chef portfolio contains pictures of larger confectionery creations (such as wedding cakes), one photograph should be of the entire dessert and another should show clear images of details such as edible art, trims and sugar ribbons.
Even though preparing for pastry chef interview questions can be difficult, being prepared can make the process easier. By thinking about your answers prior to your appointment, you will show your prospective culinary arts employer your confidence, knowledge, level of experience and ability to create delectable dessert creations.