Mise en Place (Meez ahn plahs)
The French term mise en place literally means “to put in place” or everything in its place.” But in the culinary context, it means much more. You need to gather and prep the ingredients to be cooked as well as assembling the tools and equipment necessary to cook them. A cook should have at hand everything he or she needs to prepare and serve food in an organized and efficient manner. I always get out a large baking sheet and place all my ingredients in individual bowls so that I don’t forget to add anything. I make sure I have everything prepped. You may need to marinade something, or make a ice bath, or clarify butter. Get all of this done before you start your cooking. It will make everything go a lot smoother.
Coordination of multiple tasks is also important. An organized cook will think about everything that needs to be done and the most efficient way to complete those tasks before beginning the actual work.
Proper mise en place also requires a good sense of timing. Knowing how long before you serve your guests to begin a task, or how far in advance of serving some preparations can be made. You don’t want to have your bread heated before your meat is done. etc.
Practicing good mise en place is essential to gourmet cooking!