Mise en place (French pronunciation: [mi zɑ̃ ˈplas]) is a French culinary term that means “putting in place” or “everything in its place.” It’s one of the first lessons taught to chefs when they’re at culinary school.
It refers to the first stage of prep, before the cooking begins, when all the ingredients are cut and measured and placed in separate bowls to make the cooking process easier.
Even though it’s mostly used in professional kitchens, this practice can – and should – be used in your kitchen, too.
It’s the perfect way to ensure that you have all the ingredients – and correct quantities – that you need for your dish. Prepping all your ingredients before you start cooking ensures that you won’t leave any ingredients out, or end up burning the onions on the stove while you’re chopping your next ingredient. This is the essence of mise en place.
How to do it
Use it when trying out a new dish, adding it to your weekly meal prep or when putting together a feast for friends.
At the beginning of the week, set aside 20 minutes. Chop a variety of vegetables and store them in the fridge. A little time now will make a notable difference throughout the week. Add your pre-chopped veg to one-pot wonders, salads and stocks. If pre-cooking is required, it’s easy to measure the correct amount – and cook these veggies alongside your main dish. Who knows, you may even up your veg intake, too.
Use the leftover bits and bobs from the crisper drawer and create a relish or pesto. This will give weeknight meals a simple, yet noticeable, twist in flavour. Pasta sauces can be made ahead of time too, since these develop flavour the longer they sit.
There are two types of people in this world. Those who mise and those who don’t. Tell us by commenting below: which type of cook are you?