Mise En Place: Why you should borrow this technique from the pros
"Mise en place" is a French phrase that means "putting in place". Usually a term reserved for professional kitchens, we find that that preparing all of the ingredients before you begin cooking can positively impact the resulting dish, and even save you time in the long run. By not being distracted by prepping throughout the cook-through, you can focus on perfecting your technique. Ultimately, mise en place can make you a better cook!
Easy tips for your mise en place:
1. Read the recipe carefully.
This step is really key! Think of the recipe as your roadmap. You should begin cooking with a pretty good idea of where you're going and how you're going to get there. Be sure to note when ingredients are divided and what temperature they need to be if specified. For example, not pre-reading your recipe and realizing that steak should be room-temp when it hits the pan could set you back twenty minutes if you're getting it out of the refrigerator when it first appears in the method!
2. Organize your space
I find it helpful to designate certain areas of my counter for specific things. Not only does this help with food safety, it helps me apply different ways of thinking to different types of ingredients. (I.e. chopping vegetables on this cutting board, measuring and setting spices over here, letting meat come to temp near the sink.) You should start to know instinctively where an ingredient is going to be when you reach for it. Also, mise en place isn't just for ingredients! You should also get out all of the cooking equipment you'll need, and even the plates you plan on serving from, before you begin cooking.
3. Take your time
Even though it may seem like taking the time to mise everything before you begin will ultimately mean you're eating later, taking a few minutes for prep really pays for itself and allows your entire cooking process to move more quickly. Also, the "timing" of your meal will be more precise beacuse you'll simply be waiting to add the next ingredients instead of rushing to get through prep before you add an ingredient.