Mise en Place (meeez ahhn plahs - I'm not a linguist, okay?) is a French term for setting up or having all of your ingredients portioned out and ready before you begin cooking. Kind of an "everything in its place" kind of thing.
From large commercial kitchens to small cafes and everywhere in between, mise en place is a way of life. If you want to run an effective kitchen, you simply can't do so without this.
The practice of mise en place is life changing. If you think that declaration is a bit dramatic, that tells me one of two things about you, you've always used mise en place so you have no idea the chaos that reigns without it or, you've never used mise en place and this blog is about to change your cooking forever.
How does it work?
1. Always start by reading the recipe, yes, the whole thing, ingredients, instructions, and any notes.
You want to be sure you have all of the ingredients and tools/pots/pans...etc. that you'll need to successfully prepare the dish. I can't tell you how many times I already had some ingredients cooking when I realized I was missing something and couldn't complete the meal. I've also had too many times where, for example, I put onions in a pan to start sweating, thinking I would be able to get the rest of the veggies washed, chopped, and ready when it was time to add them the pan only to find myself rushing, making a huge mess, and burning the food.
2. Gather all tools/pots/pans/utensils you'll need and place them where you need them
3. Prep and portion out your veggies. As you can see in the picture above and below, most ingredients gets their own containers. Of course, to cut down on dishes, if there are ingredients you will add to a dish at the same time, you can place them all in the same bowl (like the salt and pepper below).
4. Portion out the remaining ingredients (water/stock/dry ingredients...etc)
The first time you do this you are going to be amazed at how quickly everything comes together. I also find it allows me to be more creative. I'm not rushing and every movement is streamlined and has a purpose which reduces stress and makes the process more enjoyable. In the event that I am missing something, I can figure out a good substitute, no stress, no mess, no burnt food.
It's that simple! Happy cooking!!
By the way - Bonus note - you can apply mise en place to other areas of your life too. Think about how you prepare for your work day, how is your desk set up...etc? How about getting ready for bed at night, are your toothbrush, face wash, and towel all within quick and easy reach?
Do you mise en place? Share your photos below! If not, will you try it?