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How To Hire Senior Living Chefs: Interviewing + Hiring Top Talent

How To Hire Senior Living Chefs: Interviewing + Hiring Top Talent
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As someone who works in a senior living facility, you understand the importance of providing high-quality meals to your residents. The chef you hire to create your menu, manage the kitchen staff, and ensure meals are well-rounded and consistent in quality can make or break the dining experience.

Because your residents eat all their meals onsite, the chef you select can greatly impact their quality of life. Thus, finding a talented and experienced chef who can create delicious and healthy meals that meet the unique needs of your senior living facility residents is incredibly important.

5 interview questions for senior living chef jobs

When interviewing candidates for senior living chef jobs, you should ask questions that focus on getting to know them and how they would fit in with the rest of the community. Remember to take your time during the hiring process and prioritize the candidate's experience, skills, and ability to work under pressure to ensure a successful hire. Let's go over five questions that you can ask when interviewing chef candidates.

What prior experience has prepared you for this position?

A chef with experience in senior living or similar live-in facilities will understand the unique dietary needs of elderly residents and know how to create healthy and flavorful meals that are part of a well-balanced diet. Ideally, they have experience cooking meals for large groups of people multiple times a day.

They will need to feel comfortable adjusting meals to meet the strict requirements that specific residents may have based on preference or medical necessity. For example, there may be residents with diabetes who cannot have sugar or residents with high blood pressure who need to limit their salt intake.

Do you have a culinary degree, or are you self-taught?

While formal culinary education is only sometimes necessary, it can be helpful. A culinary degree shows that the chef has a strong foundation in cooking and the training required to work in a fast-paced environment. However, self-taught chefs may also have valuable real-world experience and a passion for cooking that has prepared them sufficiently to succeed in their role.

How do you manage others while in the kitchen?

Managing a kitchen requires strong leadership skills. The chef should be able to communicate effectively with the kitchen staff and maintain a positive work environment under pressure.

Can you give me an example of a lunch menu you would suggest for our facility?

This question will give you an idea of the candidate's creativity and ability to create healthy and flavorful meals for your residents. The chef should be able to suggest menu items tailored to your residents' dietary needs while offering ideas on how to reduce food waste and incorporate fresh and seasonal ingredients.

How do you work under pressure and time constraints?

Unlike restaurants where diners come and go all evening, senior living facilities often have set mealtimes where everyone sits down ready to eat. This question will help you understand how the candidate handles pressure and prioritizes tasks to deliver meals on time.

Where to find talent for senior living chef jobs

Once you’ve established your interview questions, the next step is to find top talent for your senior living chef jobs. Let's talk about four methods for finding qualified candidates.


Reach out to other senior living facilities or industry professionals to see if they know any qualified candidates. Referrals can be an excellent source of top talent and save you time and resources in hiring.

Job boards

Post your senior living chef job openings on industry-specific job boards. Include precisely what requirements you are looking for to avoid spending unnecessary time sorting through unqualified candidates. 

Contact culinary schools

Local culinary schools may have recent graduates or students looking for senior living chef jobs. Culinary schools can be an excellent source of talent, and many students are eager to gain real-world experience.


Consider using a hospitality industry staffing platform like Qwick to easily fill food and beverage shifts at your senior living facility. Qwick specializes in matching businesses with experienced freelance chefs and other front of house and back of house roles.

Qwick can fill your shifts for senior living chef jobs

By asking the right interview questions and using resources like referrals, job boards, culinary schools, and staffing platforms like Qwick, you can find qualified candidates for your senior living chef position.

When you tap into Qwick’s network of hospitality talent, you can rest assured that you are filling shifts with experienced and professional hospitality freelancers. Qwick vets each chef to ensure they have the qualifications and experience necessary to meet your needs. Qwick's chefs are available on-demand, in advance, or on a recurring basis, allowing you to staff however works best for your facility. When you meet a chef you love, you can even hire them full-time with no hiring fees. 

Save time hiring and create an account with Qwick today! 

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