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Mystery Basket Test for Interview

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
For those of you who interview chefs and also those who have cooked a "Mystery Basket" test for an interview, my question is this:

Is it best to cook what you are comfortable with or do you try and "wow" them with something they may not have ver seen before?

Before you answer, I realize your answer may depend on the type of job you are interviewing for. For argument sake, let's assume this is for a position that you know requires a Chef with solid cooking skills but more importantly someone who can manage a very high volume kitchen employing 25-40 cooks and various types of profit centers such as restaurant, concessions and catering. A postion you most likely can assume organizational skills are just as important, if not more so, than cooking skills to wow a master chef.
post #2 of 10
Cook what you are comfortable cooking.
If you try something new you have a chance of screwing up.
It may be boring to you but not to the taster.
post #3 of 10
I'd have to agree, why take a chance and maybe blow the interview?
"Isn't it a pity, Isn't it a shame, How we break each others hearts and cause each other pain" George Harrison
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"Isn't it a pity, Isn't it a shame, How we break each others hearts and cause each other pain" George Harrison
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post #4 of 10
I agree with the first two, but also must add; cook with an eye towards the place you are applying to. Do the research, know what kind and style of food they do, then gear your tasting (mystery basket) towards that. Im not saying to do something off of their menu, but try to match their style somewhat, create food that would fit into their concept. Too many times I have done tastings where I was told to do whatever I wanted, only to hear in the critic that maybe my food was "a little to refined", "doesn't match their style of cooking", "doesn't fit into their concept". Come up with a happy medium where you are cooking food you are familiar with, but that also speaks to the concept you are trying to become a chef of. As much as the taste of your food, they are looking to see how you will intergrate with their restaurant. Guarneteed, if you are interviewing for the chef position of a high volume BBQ joint and come in doing Duck a la orange and foie gras terrine you won't get the job. Even if it is the best duck and foie they have ever tasted.
post #5 of 10
I think it's a little of both. Wow them, but with something you've had experience doing. The last time I did a test like this, I tried some things I hadn't done before. They worked in my head, but because I hadn't tested them and refined them beforehand, there were two things that went wrong. Fortunately, the exec saw where I was trying to go with those two dishes and I had been rock-solid on the four other courses. I got the job. You might not be so lucky. You might run into the the type of people that Pete mentions; the kind that think that just because you go above the level of their cuisine that you won't be happy or will be incapable of fitting your cooking to their concept.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Very solid comments. I tend to agree with you. The last time I had a cooking test, I tried to do things I have not done before just to wow the interviewer. Virtually nothing came out right. Needless to say I was passed over for the job. Now when presented with this test for a new job, I just cringe. But I think you are all correct. Go with what you know. Present a solid and proven recipe and let the rest speak for itself.
post #7 of 10
Interestingly some of the best restaurants have new comers make an omelet, apparently the technique and finesse are all they need to see.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #8 of 10
How Very true! :chef: :chef: :lips:
post #9 of 10

Well, I'm really nervous. I am interviewing tomorrow at a local hospital and have to do this mystery basket test. I'm getting myself all worked up and for no good reason. I know I can cook and love to do it.

post #10 of 10

You know yourself. Do what you know and do best, and what you feel comfortable with  good luck to you

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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