Want to cook like a professional chef in your own kitchen? Mise en place is a great place to start. Literally.
Mise en place (pronounced "MEE-zon-plos"), a French phrase meaning "setting up," is a process defined in the cooking world as "everything in its place." Using mise en place means preparing all the ingredients in a recipe and having your cooking utensils at your fingertips before you fire up the grill and start cooking.
Restaurant cooks learn this method in culinary school, as mise en place is a requirement in almost all professional kitchens, where prep cooks must have everything close by in order to avoid running into one another. But you can easily use mise en place in your home kitchen and see a difference in your results.
Mise en Place at Home
Mise en place lets you know ahead of time if you are missing ingredients, dishes or other food preparation essentials. It also makes it more difficult to miss a step or ingredient halfway through a recipe when all the necessary ingredients, mixing bowls, tools and pans are sitting right in front of you.
By using mise en place, cook times and stress levels go down. Saving time and stress in the kitchen means more time at the dinner table with family and friends.
How to Use Mise en Place
With mise en place, you start with a plan for your cook. And every cooking plan starts by studying the recipe.
Say your recipe calls for a quarter cup of chopped vegetables. With mise en place, you will have the vegetables chopped up and in a bowl before you begin cooking. You should pre measure your spices into small bowls and group ingredients by recipe order.
If multiple ingredients are added to a recipe at the same time, mise en place would say to combine ingredients in the same prep bowl. This saves on dirty dishes, which is helpful for the home cook who's also the dishwasher.
Mise en Place Improves Your Cooking Process
Even though mise en place is directly tied to prep work, it has an effect on every step of the cooking process from start to finish.
Once everything is prepared and you start cooking, mise en place makes the actual cooking process incredibly efficient, with no wasted movements or energy. And when you find yourself with down time during the cook, you can clean as you go.