The Importance of Mis en Place

April 5, 2017

Needless to say, cooking in a professional kitchen is very different from cooking at home. The restaurant is a marathon of prepping ingredients, putting together dishes, and keeping your station organized with military precision. The happiness of your guests and the success of the restaurant depend on the kitchen operating as a synchronized and well-oiled machine. But some of the organizational tricks we chefs at Hestan have spent years practicing can greatly improve the home cooking experience as well. After all, time and space saved means more time to enjoy with your friends and family at the table, not to mention less clean up!

Mis en Place or “everything in its place. (Photo by Nader Khouri 2016)

Nothing is more essential to maintaining order in the busy restaurant kitchen than mise en place. It is the reason chefs can cook for so many people in one night. Mise en place means “everything in its place.” Each ingredient is prepped out in advance and ready at hand so when it comes time to combine ingredients on the stove or assemble the final dish, you aren’t scrambling to dice your onions or chop your parsley. Making every step as efficient as possible is what creates the dance that is dinner service.

After years of working in restaurant kitchens, no matter if I am just cooking for myself or a party 0f 10, I always prep my ingredients ahead of time, place them in separate containers and organize them in the order I will most likely use them. Mise en place is great for the home cook because you can prep and organize as you go, and when it comes time to get cooking, you don’t risk burning an ingredient while you rush to find or prep another. It takes the anxiety out of cooking, giving you confidence and more time to enjoy the cooking process rather than overthink it. It may seem daunting at first, but trust me, you won’t go back after a few successful dinners!

– Chef Lorin Peters, Culinary Media Manager