Preparation is key when it comes to running an organised and efficient kitchen. This is where mise en place comes in. Mise en place is a French term which literally means “to put in order”. It’s where all your ingredients are measured, cut, peeled, sliced and grated before you start cooking. Everything that will be needed is set out – mixing bowls, tools and equipment. When service starts the process of cooking can work like a well-oiled machine.
The importance of mise en place
Mise en place saves cooking time because it enables chefs to move and cook in a seamless manner. Recipe steps can be moved through quicker and anything that is missing in the process can quickly be identified. It’s all about proper planning and anticipating what tasks need to be accomplished and in what order. Chefs who master the art of mise en place are in control of their kitchen and work in the most efficient way.
Mise en place in action
So, what does mise en place look like at work? Here are a few kitchen tips to consider:
- Buy a set of 4 or more “pinch” or “mini” bowls to hold each of your individual ingredients
- Have your recipe at hand and develop a plan to progress through each of the stages
- Gather all of your ingredients, utensils and equipment that will be needed
- One by one, wash, cut, dice, chop and measure your ingredients
- Place the prepared ingredients into appropriately sized dishes, bowls and containers for easy access
- Set your ingredients (that do not need to be chilled) around your cooking station ready to go
From the beginning to the end, everything has to be ready so you just have to grab things and avoid unnecessary actions.
Mise en place examples in the kitchen
When looking specifically at a recipe and the preparation stages, it’s easy to break it down and see the benefits of mise en place in action. As an example, let’s look at some kitchen tips for a timeless favourite – fried chicken:
- Prepare the deep-fryer and set it to the right temperature
- Ensure equipment is close at hand – tongs, food thermometer, strainer, perforated food pans, paper towels
- Brine your chicken and marinate it ready to be fried – you could try using Knorr Chicken powder for an even meatier taste, and Knorr Liquid Seasoning for extra flavour
- If you plan to coat or bread your chicken, create a station for this (Flour, egg, Knorr Chicken Powder)
- Prepare any dipping sauces of glazes and put into containers (Try Knorr Gravy mix, Knorr Barbeque sauce, Knorr Teriyaki sauce, Golden egg powder)
- Prepare and store any garnishes
- Think about sides and assemble these if possible (Salad, vegetables, fries, rice)
Extend mise and place practices to front-of-house
Let’s not forget though that mise en place doesn’t just exist in the kitchen. A well-run restaurant will use this practice in the dining area and Front of House too. These practices can help reduce customer complaints and increases top notch customer service.
Examples of mise and place for restaurant managers:
- Checking the reservation book ahead of service and planning the day ahead
- Discussing the flow of service with the chef
- Adjusting the music, lighting and temperature so it’s ready for diners
- Setting the floorplan – adjusting tables, chairs, place settings etc.
- Polishing flatware and glassware
- Folding napkins and table linen
- Filling condiments
- Stock service areas
A restaurant which utilises mise en place to its full potential in the dining area and Front of House is likely to excel at customer service. Diners will feel at ease, and well-cared for which will allow the focus to be on the food.
It’s a very simple premise when you think about it but one that can have a big impact on your food business. The key, wherever you utilise it, is to ensure that you have as much prepared as possible and then everything is at hand should it be needed.
You’ll see chefs using the principles of mise en place all over the world, from the smallest kitchens right through to the very biggest; the benefits are universal. Being organised and achieving greater efficiency is essential in the kitchen, it's one of the most vital skills a chef should have and utilise every day. Organisation helps everyone feel in control, work more seamlessly and often more safely too which is key when it comes to busy and hectic kitchens at peak times.
It’s likely you’re already using the principles of mise en place in your restaurant. But it is always beneficial to examine how these practices are being used and whether there is further potential to introduce more to achieve greater efficiency.
We hope these mise en place tips and examples have given you some food for thought about where you can streamline workflows within your kitchen, and Front of House too. Our role is to help support you and provide a little inspiration when you need it. Sign up to our newsletter for tips straight to your inbox.