Mise en Place [MEEZ ahn plahs]
Roughly translated, mise en place means “everything in place.” It is the practice where cooks make sure that everything is ready to go before they begin cooking. Everything means everything. It means reading over the recipe at least once, if not more than once. It means having all of the equipment plugged in, tested, and ready to go. It also means laying out all of the needed ingredients while ensuring that the vegetables are sliced, diced, julienned or otherwise cut according to the recipe.
Mise en place saves time and deters disaster
You might be thinking mise en place means lots of focus and deep breaths because it is a lot of work! But in all seriousness, getting everything ready beforehand can really reduce kitchen mishaps. There is no scrambling, digging in the refrigerator, or trying desperately to remember how the food processor bowl fits on the base while food is about to burn on the stove.
Mise en place is especially important when doing things like stir-fry, where the food can burn, or delicate things like making a sauce, which can easily break. All in all, having your mise en place ready can be the difference between disaster and delectable.
Making mise en place work for you
Undoubtedly, delectable is always better than disaster, but there’s just one question left: How ever do you organize it all?
In many cases, chefs use plastic cups. Everything is measured out, placed into a plastic cup, and when it comes time for the ingredient to be added, the ingredient is poured into the skillet or bowl. Chefs often then discard the plastic cup, which is not the most eco-friendly mise en place option to practice.
On the other hand, you can use your own bowls, cups or even ramekins, a much more environmentally-conscious option. You can also check out your local kitchen store, they carry small glass stackable bowls in various sizes that work perfectly for this.
Practicing mise en place
Practicing mise en place is a good idea and one of the ways that restaurant kitchens turn out a lot of food in record time. Take this secret of the restaurant chef home with you and use it to rock your kitchen. Opt to always mise en place and you can make a good kitchen practice even better.
If you find that you’re always missing an ingredient once you get started to cook or don’t have enough of one, mise en place is your answer. I know you’re probably thinking, I can’t remember to do this all the time. However, if you can remember to mise en place when you have lots of ingredients in a recipe, then you’ll find your recipes will be easier to prepare and your dishes will come out amazingly better – then you’ll never forget.
You too can be a great chef in your own kitchen. Just don’t forget to Mise en Place!
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