So what exactly is a mise en place? Well, the short definition is organizing and preparing your ingredients before you actually start the real cooking. The fancy, technical chef definition is:
“ a French culinary phrase which meant, “putting in place”, as in set up. It is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients (e.g., cuts of meat, relishes, sauces, par-cooked items, spices, freshly chopped vegetables, and other components) that a cook will require for the menu items that are expected to be prepared during a shift.”
Beginning to create your own mis en place has way too many benefits to ignore.
Saves You time
Have you ever run around the kitchen like a chicken with your head cut off? Running from the pantry, to the fridge, back to the stove and then maybe back over to the cutting board more than once while preparing your meal? I know I sure have! This takes up so much time that you could be saving while cooking. Instead of running all over the kitchen looking for ingredients, they are already sitting in front of you.
You know that time when you were searing a piece of meat and you walked away from the stove to do something else and then there was smoke? If everything were organized you’d be a lot less likely to burn things. Then there was that time that you forgot a key ingredient in a slow cooker recipe and it just didn’t taste right when done? The mise en place will keep this from happening because you have everything in its place before cooking.
Cuts Back on Stress
Disorganization in the kitchen will inevitably lead to stress. It’s stressful when you are burning things, spilling liquid or running way behind when expecting guests. A mise en place will keep you focused and on track, which leads to less stress.
Saves on Nutrition
The tendency is to just add a bit more of something when you aren’t organized. An extra knob of butter, a splash of cream or olive oil can really start to add on the fat and calories to dishes without you even realizing it.
A few things to keep in mind in when creating your mise en place is to first lay everything out and then start the chopping and dicing before you start cooking anything. Getting in this habit will make tackling the kitchen much easier on a daily basis.