Mise en Place
© Randal Oulton
Mise en Place means literally “putting (things) in place” (ready to be used.) In a kitchen, it means getting ingredients out, and ready to use.
In the strictest sense, the ingredients are not only set out, they are also prepared, measured and arranged in the order in which they will be used.
Mise en Place is often referred to in professional kitchens just as the “mise.”
In restaurants, the “mise” is done by prep chefs.
Having a “mise” ready to go in a restaurant means that orders for various items on the menus can be assembled in a matter of minutes.
At home, items are often placed in ramekins, but ramekins don’t stack well for storage, which creates problems in restaurant kitchens. So professionals prefer small prep bowls of clear glass or stainless steel.
You can practice “mise en place” at home, by having all of the ingredients ready to go beforehand.
Having the “mise” ready is absolutely essential for stir-fry, where all the cooking happens in a matter of minutes, leaving no time for in-between chopping.
Having a “mise” ready to go can also make the prep part more pleasurable, and the cooking part more pleasurable, because each has its dedicated time and attention. Some people say that at home, though, it just makes for more stress, as it just creates more dirty dishes to be washed up afterwards. They may do some “mise”, but just push the chopped vegetable items into different corners of the cutting board.