Kitchen assistant interview questions (with sample answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When you're applying for kitchen assistant jobs, it's important to feel confident in your skills, experience and readiness for the role. Interviewers ask questions that determine whether you may be a good fit for the role. By planning some responses to common interview questions for this role, you can show that you are someone who likes to plan and organise. In this article, we look at some common kitchen assistant interview questions and give tips and examples to help you answer them confidently.

General kitchen assistant interview questions

Here are some common general kitchen assistant interview questions being asked:

  1. What interests you about this role?

  2. What are your main strengths?

  3. What are some of your weaknesses?

  4. Why do you want to work in the catering industry?

  5. What relevant experience can you bring to this role?

  6. What qualifications do you have?

  7. How do you deal with stressful situations?

  8. What is your communication style?

  9. What do you bring to a team?

  10. Why would we hire you for this role?

Related: What is a kitchen assistant?

Questions about experience and background

Here are some common questions about experience and background that interviewers ask:

  1. Tell us how you can prepare a cold salad platter?

  2. What do you like best about working in this field?

  3. How do you describe your team-working abilities?

  4. Can you explain the importance of hygiene in a commercial kitchen?

  5. What is one of your biggest achievements in your career so far?

  6. How do you handle stress on the job?

  7. How do you continue to learn in your role?

  8. Tell us about a time you made an error. How did you fix it?

  9. Why are you interested in working in the catering industry?

  10. How do you know whether there's enough food in stock to meet the day's customer demand?

Related: What are the different types of interview questions?

In-depth questions

Here are some in-depth questions that interviewers ask:

  1. In your opinion, what makes a great kitchen assistant?

  2. What do you do to help foster a positive working environment?

  3. What's your understanding of Health & Safety at work?

  4. How do you evaluate the quality of your work?

  5. Is speed or quality more important when it comes to food preparation?

  6. How do you manage your working area in the kitchen?

  7. What techniques do you use when preparing raw meat?

  8. What do you do when you spot a problem or error in the kitchen?

  9. How do you handle difficult people?

  10. What do you see as the most important task of the kitchen assistant?

Related: Catering assistant CV skills to highlight (with examples)

Interview questions with sample answers

Here are some questions interviewers with sample answers to help you prepare:

1. Can you tell me why you want this job?

This is a common warm-up question in an interview. It gives you a chance to relax and talk freely about your motivations and interest in the role and build a rapport with the interviewer.

Example: 'I've recently completed my NVQ in Catering and Hospitality Studies at college after studying a full-time course with a kitchen-based work placement. I'm really keen to now put my theoretical knowledge into practice and begin building my career in my first full-time kitchen assistant role. I'm a hard worker, enthusiastic and a team player. I know that [your establishment] has a great reputation with customers. I'd love to become part of the team and show my value.'

2. Can you tell me which food qualifications you have?

This question checks that you have relevant food handling qualifications and verifies what you have listed on your kitchen assistant CV. This is a good opportunity for you to confirm your qualifications and commitment to professional development.

Example: 'I've gained my catering and hospitality certificate at NVQ Level 1. This qualification included health and safety requirements for commercial kitchens, including safe food preparation, hygiene and food service. As part of my qualification, I worked in the college commercial kitchen, helping to prepare and serve food for students and customers. This offered a practical insight into the health and safety processes used in a commercial catering environment. I'm keen to continue my studies and undertake any additional and relevant training that may be available.'

3. Can you tell me about a time you noticed a food stock control issue and what you did to resolve it?

This question lets you show your awareness, communication abilities and critical-thinking skills. It's also a good chance to talk about your relevant experience.

Example: 'When I was working in the college kitchen, I noticed our fresh cream had developed an odour, despite it being within date. It was a particularly hot period in summer, which can lead to challenges in the fresh food supply chain. I immediately flagged it with my supervisor, who was able to contact our supplier immediately and ensure we had a new batch before we began food preparation for that evening.'

Related: 10 essential chef skills

4. What types of food preparation do you have experience in?

This is another good chance to talk more broadly about your skills and experience and show your suitability for the role.

Example: 'I've gained skills in experience with a range of food preparation types. These include preparing meat, poultry and fish for cooking and fruits and raw vegetables for cold service. I understand the different techniques, tools and requirements for each type of food preparation.'

Related: What does a food preparer do? (Including skills and duties)

5. How do you deal with stress when the kitchen is operating at its peak?

Commercial kitchens can be stressful environments. This question is a good way for you to demonstrate your calm attitude, maturity and communication skills.

Example: 'If the kitchen becomes overwhelmed with orders, I focus on my own job and priorities. I review my shift tasks and work on the most pressing and important ones first. I focus on one thing at a time, maintain quality standards and keep listening in case I'm asked to urgently assist with anything by one of my team.'

6. Can you tell me about a time you experienced conflict in a team?

This question lets you show how you deal with difficult situations and your ability to find solutions.

Example: 'In a previous catering summer job, I needed to use the same tools and work preparation area as another kitchen assistant and we were both working under pressure in a high-stress situation. I suggested we quickly review our task list to see what was most important to the team's priorities and took it in turns to get our jobs done in that area, working on other tasks in the meantime to keep everything flowing.'

Related: Answering 'Tell me how you handled a difficult situation'

7. What tasks do you like to do most in the kitchen?

This allows you to show your positive attitude, enthusiasm and natural preferences for different areas.

Example: 'I enjoy a lot of tasks in the kitchen, but one of my favourite areas is preparing raw fruit and vegetables for salads. I like working with varied cutting knives and using different techniques to create beautiful platters that diners love.'

8. What's the job you like least in the kitchen?

It's good to be honest when answering this question but remember to always stay professional.

Example: 'I don't enjoy pot washing as much as some other tasks, especially after a long and busy night of service. But I take pride in doing a good job and I know it's a vital part of the kitchen's operation, so I always work as quickly and effectively as I can.'

9. If you're working with a recipe that needs quadruple portions, what do you do?

This question tests your critical-thinking skills and abilities with maths and practical problem-solving.

Example: 'I've experienced this before in work placements and in the commercial college kitchen. I read the recipe ingredients and preparation steps carefully then multiply every ingredient by four. I then go back to check my calculations so the proportions and totals are correct.'

Related: 12 back of house and front of house jobs in a kitchen

Tips for succeeding in a kitchen assistant interview

Here are some further tips to help you prepare for success in your interview:

  • Read industry stats and news before your interview. You can use some facts in your interview to show that you stay abreast with what is happening in catering.

  • Take your time when answering questions. If you need clarification, ask the interviewer to repeat the question or provider more information.

  • Prepare some questions of your own. Doing this helps you show you're motivated and genuinely interested in the role you're applying for. For example, you can ask about the working culture at the restaurant or what the venue's plans are for the coming year.

Disclaimer: The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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