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Top 20 Chef Interview Questions For Your Next DevOps Interview



Last updated 21/07/2021

Top 20 Chef Interview Questions For Your Next DevOps Interview

What happens when you go to a restaurant to dine in?

From starter to dessert, you have good quality food serving right in front of you in the correct order which is of good quality, with a good balance of all the ingredients. Isn’t that right?

Do you ever wonder what’s the secret of this? Maybe not, because you already know it’s the Chef’s expertise.

Just like a restaurant Chef, the tool Chef we use to achieve a proper DevOps culture contributes to continuous delivery in a huge way. Which is why it’s the favorite tool of most organizations. Along with DevOps, Chef has so many contributions to the cloud computing platform as well. Hence, Chef is the most interesting tool to be questioned about in both the interviews, and there can’t be enough reason for you then this to learn how it functions.

So let’s stick up to the dedication of doing the same and go through these top 20 Chef interview questions!

1. What is Chef?

Chef is a powerful configuration management tool and automation tool that helps in converting the infrastructure of a company into a structured format of code. With the help of Chef, developing scripts useful for automating the IT and business process has become simpler

2. Name the major components of Chef?

The major components of Chef are:

  • Chef Server
  • Chef Node 
  • Chef Workstation

3. What is a Chef resource and what are its functions?

Chef resource is a part of the infrastructure used for installing or running a service. 

Some important functions of a Chef resource are:

  • It helps you to achieve the desired state of a configuration item 
  • It brings a certain item to a state where you will know about the steps involved
  • It helps you to choose the resources like package, template or services
  • It helps you in listing the resource properties and other details needed
  • It helps you in grouping the resources into recipes to describe the working configuration.

4. Describe a Recipe and its functions?

Once the resources are grouped, it gets converted into a Recipe to describe the working configuration and the policy. Using the Recipe, you can get all the necessary elements to configure a specific system. 

Some  important functions of a Recipe are:

  • With the Chef Recipe, you can install the software components
  • It helps you to manage the files and apps deployment
  • It helps you in executing the other recipes using one recipe.

5. What is a Chef Node and what is its importance?

A node is a physical server or a virtual machine constituent of the Chef architecture. 

6. What is the difference between a Cookbook and a Recipe in Chef?

You can get a recipe by grouping which is useful in executing the configurations and policy. On the other hand, when you combine Recipes, you get a Cookbook that is easily manageable as compared to a Recipe.

7. How does a Chef Repository work?

Chef Repository is basically a collection of Cookbooks, roles, environments, data bags, and more. It is possible to sync the Chef Repository with the Git and a Version Control System in order to improve the performance of it.

8. Why are SSL certificates used in Chef?

You need the SSL certificate for the initial configuration of the Chef and to create the certificate and private keys in Nginx. This ensures that the right data can be accessed between the Chef Client and Chef Server.

9. What is the significance of a Signed Header?

The Signed Header provides validation of the interaction between the Chef node, server and signed header authentication.

10. Explain the run-list in Chef?

The run-list is required to specifying the Recipes for running it and the order of the execution of the Recipes.

Some of the advantages of run-list are:

  • It assures that the Recipes are running in the same order as specified
  • The node on which the run-list is to be executed has to be specified
  • It is transferred from the Workstation to Chef Server and the management console.

11. What is the importance of Chef starter kit?

The importance of a Chef starter kit is:

  • It is needed to create the configuration files in Chef
  • It gives you the information for interacting with the server and defining the configuration file. 
  • It is easily downloadable and usable

12. What is the process for updating a Chef Cookbook?

The steps you need to follow for updating a Chef Cookbook are:

  • Run the Knife SSH from the workstation
  • Run the SSH and Chef-client on the server directly
  • You can use the Chef-client as a daemon to restart service as needed.

13. What is the process for bootstrapping in Chef and the information needed?

To bootstrap in Chef you will need the following information:

  • The hostname or Public IP address of the node
  • The user name and password for logging into a particular node
  • Using keys as authentication rather than any login credentials.

14. Explain your understanding of Test Kitchen in Chef?

The Test Kitchen in Chef helps you to improve the development of the lifecycle and enables the Cookbooks on the server. You can also create different virtual machines in cloud or on-premise with the help of Test Kitchen.


15. Write a service Resource that stops and then disables the httpd service from starting when the system boots in Chef?

The resource mentioned below is used to stop and disable the httpd service from starting:

service 'httpd' do

action [:stop, :disable]


16. What is the command you use to upload a cookbook to the Chef server?

The commands to upload a cookbook to the Chef server is “knife cookbook upload”.

17. What is chef_acl resource in chef?

The chef_acl resource is used to interact with access control lists (ACLs) that exist on the Chef server.

The syntax for using the chef_acl resource in a recipe is:

chef_acl ‘name’ do

attribute ‘value’ # see properties section below

action :action # see actions section below


18. What is SSL_CERT_FILE in chef?

The SSL_CERT_FILE environment variable in Chef is used to specify the location for the SSL certificate authority (CA) bundle used by the chef-client.

19. What is knife ssl check command in chef?

The knife ssl check subcommand is run to verify the state of the SSL certificate and to use the response to help troubleshooting issues that might be present.

20. What is Data Bags?

A data bag is a global variable stored as JSON data. It is accessible from a Chef server and is indexed for searching. It is also possible to load a data bag by a recipe or accessed during a search.


If you think just mugging up these answers will help you get through your DevOps and Cloud Computing interviews, we must tell you there is more to it. Want to know what exactly? Check out our DevOps and Cloud Computing courses to know the same!

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About Author

NovelVista Learning Solutions is a professionally managed training organization with specialization in certification courses. The core management team consists of highly qualified professionals with vast industry experience. NovelVista is an Accredited Training Organization (ATO) to conduct all levels of ITIL Courses. We also conduct training on DevOps, AWS Solution Architect associate, Prince2, MSP, CSM, Cloud Computing, Apache Hadoop, Six Sigma, ISO 20000/27000 & Agile Methodologies.



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