Although professional cooks and home cooks have their differences, there are many practices common among professionals that can greatly improve the home cook’s command of the kitchen. Mise en place is one concept that is essential to success in any kitchen.
So what does mise en place mean? It means that you’ve read the recipe, understood its every component and have done all of your equipment and ingredient prep work before you set a pan on the flame. Think about TV chefs when they say “Add the onions to the pan and sauté,” they don’t then go to a cutting board and cut up onions. They simply dump a bowl of previously chopped onions into the pan. This is all prepared before they begin cooking so that everything is ready to be added at the appropriate time.
There is also “mental mise en place” which means that when you are in the kitchen, you are focused on the task at hand. Staying focused allows you to work quickly, safely and efficiently.
The organized cook is the speedy cook. When everything is prepped and ready to go, you’ll be able to make your meal quickly and efficiently without infuriating setbacks or wasted food. The organized cook is also the safer cook: when everything is in its place you’re far less likely to cut your hand on an errant knife.
What mise en place tips do you have to share? We’d love to hear!
This post was written with the help of “The Complete Book of Knife Skills” by Jeffrey Elliot and James P. DeWan