Auditioning Pizza Chefs For Your Italian Restaurant: What To Look For

Posted on: 31 August 2016

Opening an Italian restaurant is sure to please many hungry customers in your city. However, you need to make sure you have a really good pizza chef. There is an art to making pizza, and it is not just stretching dough and sprinkling toppings on it. You should "audition" all pizza chef candidates before you finally hire a couple, and here is what you should be looking for when the chefs are making you a sample pizza.


Your pizza chef candidates should be coming in with short and very clean nails; clean hands that are free of cuts, sores, and other small wounds; and arm hair that is trimmed way back, shaved off completely, or covered in a long-sleeved shirt. Any of these violations shows that the chef does not care about how his or her personal grooming affects the food he/she makes, and so the applicant should be dismissed from the interview completely. Other candidates should be willing to don food prep gloves and adhere strictly to food safety guidelines.

Quality of Pizza

This includes the way in which the chef mixes the dough, adds flavor to the crust, and whether or not he/she uses fresh ingredients. Provide both fresh and pre-packaged ingredients to see which your chef chooses, and then ask him/her why he/she chose certain ingredients after the pizza is made. It may surprise you to learn what some chefs are capable of doing with canned tomato sauce versus fresh or how some chefs butcher freshly-made sauce. The quality of the pizza is in the ingredients, the process, and how well the ingredients are used.

Taste of Pizza

This is one of your most important tests for your pizza chef candidates. The pizzas they make have to be spectacular if they are going to trump any fast food chain pizza or pizza from another Italian restaurant. If the taste of the pizza does not absolutely "wow" you, it is not going to "wow" the customers either. Additionally, if you can find a pizza chef that can bring fun, unique, and very tasty flavors to your restaurant's pizza offerings, that may be exactly the type of chef you need to hire.

Attitude and Professionalism

Last, but not least, you want pizza chefs who maintain a good attitude under pressure and maintain their professionalism. A pressure test might be the right solution, especially if you have a handful of candidates that have made it past the initial audition. Have each one work a very busy shift to see how they manage it, and then hire the ones that did the best job under pressure and still went home smiling at the end of the night.