This morning I posted a picture on Social Media about my mis en place.
Does that mean anything to you? Well if you have taken basic French 101 you may know it literally means “to put in place”, but in the cooking world it means “everything in place”.
In my opinion, this is one of the most basic, yet perhaps most important tricks of the trade when it comes to being a successful chef. What it actually means in laymen’s terms is to get everything ready before you start cooking. If you have ever watched a cooking show on TV, or a cooking demonstration, you have seen this in action and may not have known it.
What a successful chef does before starting a recipe is to measure all ingredients out after reading the recipe through and before cooking. You then have them lined up and ready when needed. This not only allows the recipe to be created in a seamless fashion, but it also allows you to make sure that you have everything required in the recipe.
Have you ever had the unfortunate experience of baking or cooking what should be a wonderful dish, only to get towards the end of the recipe to discover that you have baking soda but not baking powder or you are missing the curry required? Or the curry you thought you had turned out to be mustard or cumin?
Sure they may look alike but you can not substitute them in recipes. If you are lucky enough to live close to a store you can run out and buy the missing items (or better yet send you can send your significant other if they are around) but depending on what you are cooking, there may not be time to do this.
If you had set your mis en place, you would have found out ahead of time you are missing something and been able to avoid this mishap
This will also help you do your slicing and dicing ahead of time if the recipe calls for it. “Oh I need sliced onion? not diced. BUMMER!”
So next time you take a venture into the kitchen, whether for a new or old time favorite recipe try using this technique. You’ll find this will save you time and help reduce stress in the kitchen, just another trick in making your cooking life easier!
Stay safe and enjoy your time in the kitchen.