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If you are looking to hire a cook in Mumbai, here is an expert guide on how to interview home
1. Salary expectation: Salary of cooks for home varies from one locality to another within Mumbai, as it’s a function of demand and supply. After explaining the work, you should ask them their expectation of salary. You can also enquire about their previous salary. If there is a large difference between the expected salary and your offer, it may mean that they may not join at all or may quit in a short time.
2. Prior experience: You should ask the prospective cook about their previous experience- both quantitative and qualitative. For how many years they have been cooking, types of cuisines/dishes they can prepare, types of families they have worked for (taste differs based on the ethnicity of the employer family) etc.
3. Other commitments of Cook: Do they have other commitments such as household chores in her own house, home cooking jobs for other families, school of her children? If yes, it is important to figure out if your work timing conflicts with her schedule.
4. Vegetarian/ Non Vegetarian: If you are non-vegetarian, it is very important to clarify this and not simply assume that the cook will be comfortable cooking non-veg food.
5. Quantum of food to be cooked: This can become a huge point of friction. We have seen many cooks leave the job within 1-2 days of joining because they thought there was too much of work. This happens because of mismatch in the expectation of both the sides. Therefore, spell out clearly number of rotis to be made, number of sabjis to be made every day. In some families, members have different preferences and a separate dish is prepared for each one. Make it clear in the interview. You can also specify the approximate amount of time it will take to finish the work every day.
6. Exceptions when guests come: The cook may be required to work a little extra when you have guests coming in for dinner or to stay with you for a few days. While this is reasonable expectation, it is better to clarify the frequency of such occasions. Also, in such cases, you should compensate her by giving something apart from her salary.
7. Can she prepare desserts?: Do you have a sweet tooth? For example, it’s common in Marwari families to prepare a sweet dish once in a week. Check with her what kind of desserts she can prepare.
8. Can the cook prepare cuisines other than Indian?: Do you like home-made Pizza? Indian Chinese? Although she is a cook for home, but let’s check with her if she has the experience of preparing any of these cuisines. If not, check if she can learn. Is she confident of preparing it if you train her.
9. Can the cook shop for vegetables?: Occasionally, you may want her to fetch vegetables from the local market. Is she ready for that?
10. Special diet: If you have a special diet requirement like no-sugar or low-oil food, you may have to provide the maid for cooking some additional training for this. Check her receptiveness.
11. Menu: The cook should be able to suggest the menu for the meal given the vegetables and ingredients that are available.
12. Practical Trial: This is the ultimate test. You can ask the home cook to prepare one quick dish to see how confident she is with cooking. You will also get to know the taste. Alternatively, you can ask her to prepare one full meal. Make sure that you pay her a proportionate compensation, even if you don’t hire her.
These tips are relevant whether you are looking to hire through an agency for cooks or through an online portal like JobNukkad.