What is Mise En Place

Translated, “ to put in place.”

Mise en place, (pronounced MEEZ ahn plahs), means is to have all your ingredients prepared and ready to go before you start cooking.

Example of Mis En Place

Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

A good example of using this technique is making a simple sandwich. First, you gather up all the ingredients you need and get them ready for assembly. You may have to make the tuna salad, slice the tomatoes, or grill the chicken, but you have all the makings before you even think of putting the sandwich together.

Think of mise en place as professional organization for ensured good results.

Make sense, right?  So why not apply the same technique to all your cooking!

An example of home made teriyaki sauce mise en place.

An example of home made teriyaki sauce mise en place.

How about balancing your checkbook? You get all your cancelled checks and deposit slips in order by arranging them by date or number before you start reconciling your statement. If you don’t, you know you will be going back and starting all over from the beginning.
Get into the habit of mise en place

If you are like many cooks you jump right into a recipe with little or no inventory of ingredients or preliminary prep figuring you can chop the garlic while the onions are sautéing. The problem begins when you get several steps into the recipe and find you needed to reduce some balsamic vinegar before adding it to the dish and now you are scurrying around trying to get it done before the onions and garlic overcook and your timing is completely thrown off!

Tips and Tricks:

Before You Start

Another example of mise en place.

Another example of mise en place.

Make sure you have all the ingredients!

How many of you have started a recipe only to find out you were missing one or two of the key ingredients. So you jump in the car or call a neighbor and plead for some Port wine that the Beef Tenderloin in a Port wine reduction calls for.

My lifestyle does not allow much time for over looking ingredients so I approach cooking by making a list ahead of time and following that list when I shop.

Forget about trying to wing it by excusing yourself with, “I will just find a great substitute for it.”

This is really very elementary.

Even professional chefs take the time to put mise en place before starting the cooking process.

If you ever get a chance take a look around any professional kitchen.  Mise en place abounds.

Put everything in its proper place and order.

Put everything in its proper place and order.

What you notice is their mise en place.

Each station is fully prepped with all the ingredients necessary to make a particular dish. All the meats, chicken, and fish are cut and de boned, the fresh herbs for seasoning sauces are washed, cut, and separated into small bowls, the vegetables are sliced, diced, or julienned to the correct size, everything ready to go because when the show gets going, there is no time to go back and dice up some carrots.

According to The New Professional Chef, mise en place “means far more than simply assembling all the ingredients, pots and pans, plates, and serving pieces needed for a particular period. Mise en place is also a state of mind.

“Someone who has truly grasped the concept is able to keep many tasks in mind simultaneously, weighing and assigning each its proper value and priority. This assures that the chef has anticipated and prepared for every situation that could logically occur during a service period.”

Another good example of using this technique is when you stir-fry. Because everything gets cooked so quickly, you must have all your ingredients ready to go.

I promise if you practice this one skill and “put everything in place” before you get started, your dishes will come out better and you will enjoy the act of cooking more than ever. work well in other areas of life, too.  No?


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