It’s no secret that my French is embarrassing. Between my lacking vocabulary and my harsh Southern-American accent on their delicate French words, it’s pretty painful to listen to. Three French words that every chef, professional or home, should have in the forefront of their mind: Mise en place. (Meez en pl-ahse). It translates roughly as “everything is in place.”
Why is this so important? If you’ve tried to bake the chocolate chip cookies from my most recent post, you’ll see that a mise en place mentality will benefit you greatly. Measure out all of your ingredients before even thinking of turning on your oven or burners, grill, whatever; you aren’t there yet. But you’re on the right track! You cooking will go much smoother and quicker if you have everything “mise en place.” If you thrive on organization, lay out your measured ingredients in the order they will be used. That way, you can just go right down the line and add them to your dish as the time comes.
Absolutely no good chef operates without having their mise en place. Some even have it tattooed on their bodies. There is a saying that goes something like,
“You’re only as good as your prep.”
And that is just as true when cooking at home. Something I really struggle with is focusing on the task at hand. Getting all of my prep done really helps me keep my eye on the prize and create a successful meal. It also really cuts down on those times where you’re halfway through your recipe and you realize you don’t have a key ingredient and your husband, roommate, mom, sibling has to curse your name all the way to the grocery store…
I highly recommend grabbing a set of small mixing bowls but your everyday-ware bowls will work just as well if you don’t have any right now. Successful chefs use mise en place every day and like so many other aspects of cooking, the outcome of your dish will be so much better if you take the time to slow down and do it right. Ultimately, you’ll add maybe an extra 5 minutes on your total time for a dish that exponentially more organized (and more delicious)!
Mise en place. Breathe it. Eat it. Dream it. Live it.