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Mise en place [moved from Not About Food]

I really like having everthing in it's place and the kitchen in order before I cook. Having all the prep work finished before I start. It take longer but it's relaxing to me doing this. I know alot of people can't find the time, but to me it's part of my procedure. You too ?

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  1. Always. Improves the flow with the wine and the music when the heat is on (Glenn Frey).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Veggo

      Exactly, Slow life down, ------------------------- relax and enjoy.

    2. Sorta. Usually I get all my ingredients out and organized before I start cooking. But I do my knifework and other prep of that sort as needed and/or when I have a minute or two of downtime. Just quicker that way since I'm a homecook and I don't have to worry about dozens of portions.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cowboyardee

        Always..makes life so much easier.I do it at work,so it carries over to home.

      2. Definitely. It's genetic--mom always had her 4 girls do the mise en place. It takes longer up front, but it actually cuts the cleanup time at the end of the evening. And as Veggo says, it improves the flow of wine and music.

        1. It depends upon what I am cooking. For a minestrone, for example, I like to spend 20 minutes getting everything prepped before I start. But if I was doing a stew with mashed potatoes, I would save the potatoes for long after the stew was "stewing." If it is my husband and I cooking, we like to do things together and take a break for wine, then salad so we would do the prepping/cooking in fits and starts.

          2 Replies
          1. re: escondido123

            Also a good point - if I'm making a stir fry or an omelet, for example, everything is prepped, cut, and organized before anything goes in the pan. For obvious reasons. But if I'm cooking something that's going to sit on the stove for a while, I tend not to do all my knifework at once.

            1. re: cowboyardee

              Also, if I am cooking something that will sit on the stove fo a while, I like to add the ingredients in stages. To me this adds more flavor and layers. So I will chop or cut during the cooking time.

          2. Having all the prep work finished before I start. It take longer but it's relaxing to me doing this. I know alot of people can't find the time,

            I disagree with both parts of that statement.

            Having a mise en place does not create extra time in the cooking process.

            In fact, I would argue that not having a mise en place would make the cooking process longer.

            7 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              You are correct. I meant to say something like. Alot of people think it does takes longer.But, it is absolutely faster and does not create extra time and also makes you aware of what you are doing. Thanks

              1. re: emglow101

                That depends. An example - Imagine making a tomato sauce where you want to add, say, basil right at the end of the cooking time. In one scenario you pick, rinse, and cut the basil before starting the sauce; in another scenario you prep the basil while the sauce is simmering and you're not doing much else. In the second scenario, you are just making better use of your down time.

                Generally speaking, an organized cook will be a faster cook. But being organized doesn't necessarily mean you have to do the traditional 'prep everything before you cook anything' restaurant-style mis en place.

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  Wow. maybe we are not talking about what is the quickest, but what is more comfortable to you. It doesn't have to be complicated , just enjoy it. Cause, I am really slow.

                  1. re: emglow101

                    Think Eric Clapton's Slow Hand. Nothing wrong with that .

                    1. re: Veggo

                      they didnt call clapton slow hand because he was slow, they called him that because he would break a string and the audience would slow clap will he finished putting a new one on.

              2. re: ipsedixit

                And more prone to snafu's, and less sassifying. That's Clarence Carter's word.

              3. I do not have a dishwasher. My sink is a 1930s single basin affair, and I do **everything** in whatever fashion will create the fewest dishes. Often, that means that I do not have multiple prep bowls filled with ingredients ready to go- instead, everything leaves the cutting board/package etc and enters the pan directly.

                2 Replies
                1. re: rohirette

                  If I'm doing a lot of prepping, like tomorrow when I'm making minestrone, I will get out my very large cutting board which is about 2' by 2' along with a big bowl for refuse. After I chop/slice an item, I push it to the back of the board. Once everything is done, I carry that board to the stove and add the ingredients as they're needed. Last time I did this I watched "Julie and Julia" so I had cooking companions. It was very relaxing.

                  1. re: rohirette

                    You can also use a tray as an 'on deck' place for ingredients. It can be a lot lighter than a cutting board and the lip helps keep everything on it.

                  2. When I take the time to do the mise I am always pleased with how well everything goes --
                    how easy it makes it -- but still only do it about 1/3 of the time. My excuse is that I've got the thing organized "in my head", but it's not really the same.

                    1. Yep. I find it really cuts down on swearing in my kitchen!

                      1. I'm a very organized person, so preparing my mise en place is natural. However, for me, it's also part of making sure I have all of the ingredients that are needed. I don't often follow a recipe, usually cooking from memory or feel, and when I decide I want to use an ingredient, I want to make sure I have it in the correct amounts. If don't do this and get my mise en place, I inevitably find that my dd has finished the last of the celery I thought I had or dh has polished off the poached chicken I was relying on for the protein, or some such thing. I have a very extensive pantry, so I can find an alternative, but prepping saves me a bunch of time if alternatives are needed.

                        1. Doing the mise-en-place first is not always the most efficient way for home cooking. Particularly when cooking more than one dish, I make a mental plan of what prep work I can do while ingredients are cooking, onions are sauteeing, sauces are simmering, etc. I will admit my kitchen and cooking process hardly seem like a picture of order, but I do get things done relatively efficiently.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: lowereastrittenhouse

                            +1. Me too. Sometimes I do prepare all the ingredients ahead of time, as when making a Chinese stir-fry, where everything goes in one ingredient after another and cooks very quickly. But many times there is something I can be doing while something else is cooking, and that saves me time overall.

                          2. Speaking as one who functions badly under confusing circumstances, I forever owe a debt of gratitude to Tony Bourdain for explaining the mise-en-place concept in the Les Halles Cookbook. After making plain the fundamental differences between commercial and home cooking, he proceeded to explain one commercial technique that every home cook ought to be aware of. No, it's not applicable in every situation, but I think we're all smart enough to recognize when it is. I remember that when Mrs. O and I had just moved into our first house, I chose to celebrate the occasion by making omelets for our first breakfast, in a new kitchen I didn't know, on a cookstove I didn't know, with tools I couldn't remember where I'd put. Omelets are now always begun with everything prepped and ready, even if it's just me making one for myself.

                            1. I always have to do it. On the rare occasion when I haven't I've either forgotten a key ingredient or have overcooked or even burned things because I was slicing and dicing instead of watching what was on the stove.

                              Most of the time I just use a large cutting board and have individual piles that can be added as needed. I also have a dozen small bowls that can stack on top of each other and those are really handy and don't take up a lot of counter space.