cook surrounds herself with things she loves. There’s no surprise
that cookbooks are on my nightstand and the TV seems to tune itself
to cooking shows.
husband is a good sport. After all, he is recipient of my food
endeavors and sometimes the willing cohort as well. Early this year,
we were following along as the contestants on the FoodNetwork’s show
“Worst Cooks in America” stumbled through their lessons. Chef–Instructor Anne Burrell was
teaching the students about Mise en place.
so excited to hear “Mise en place” because I’d devoured the term in
the wonderful film “Julie and Julia.” After all, someone,
like me, who loves to organize and loves to cook is naturally going
to love that term, which some describe as having everything in its
place before you begin cooking.
I’ve loved to cook forever, I’d never heard that term until this
year. I guess I’m behind the trend rather than in front of it.
Having never taken a French class, I decided to check out multiple
French to English translation programs on the Internet. Four of them
told me that Mise en place means: set up; installation, position; or
may not be a consensus among the programs as to the exact meaning
but the concept of careful preparation before you cook remains an
important one. Although I didn’t know there was a term for it, I’ve
always known finding all your ingredients insures that you have on
hand what you need. Preparing them before beginning the dish means
you are ready to add each ingredient and won’t be caught on a step
a cooking demonstration or a food TV show and you’ll see Mise en
place in action. Each ingredient is measured and waiting in its own
little glass dish. One memorable Mise en place mishap took place
when Paula Deen tried to teach Oprah Winfrey how to cook. Someone
had seen to the Mise en place with each ingredient in its own clear,
tiny glass dish. While the mixer was running, Deen preceded to toss
in ingredients and with one, the tiny bowl went in as well. With the
mixer beating out a terrible racket, Deen, Winfrey, and front row
guests were soon wearing gobs of batter.
home, it isn’t necessary to use a ton of individual dishes – nor
drop them into a running mixer. What is important, is taking the
steps to organize your ingredients. Each dish you make will have a
much higher chance of success if you learn Mise en place.
How to Have Mise En Place in Your Home Kitchen:
Begin with a clean area in which to prepare your
Fill a sink with warm soapy water so that you are
organized to clean as you cook instead of creating a big mess for
Read through the entire recipe.
Preheat the oven or grill, if required.
Gather necessary pan and tools.
Grease or prepare any pans.
Lay out all of your ingredients.
Prepare your ingredients, such as chopping
vegetables, before beginning to cook.
Mise en place
all of your ingredients, as I have done for this
Cumin Roasted Broccoli, insures that you have
everything at hand before beginning to cook.
your ingredients, and placing them in small bowls
helps you follow the recipe accurately and makes
Measure each ingredient. You can certainly use
individual bowls, like a chef does during a demonstration, or just
use one bowl for each step of the recipe. You can place anything
that goes into the dish, at that step, into one bowl. In this
method, you would have a bowl for each step rather than one for each
and temp label
When preparing a dish ahead, note the cooking
time and temperature on the dish. This is especially
helpful when entertaining or preparing multiple
If preparing the dish in advance, take one final
step. Add the cooking time and temperature to the prepared dish.
For more information, check out
Linda Stradley's article:
What Is A
Recipe - Mise en Place.