Mise En Place is an organization strategy utilized by top-chefs that emphasizes placement and movement as a way to do things more efficiently. Mise En Place literally means “put in place.” “It’s a French phrase that means to gather and arrange the ingredients and tools needed for cooking,” explains Dan Charnas, the author of Work Clean: The life-changing power of mise-en-place to organize your life, work, and mind to NPR. It’s a work philosophy used by top-chefs, that some have taken into their day-to-day and professional lives.
Here are a few key ways you can incorporate Mise En Place now!
Become One With Your List
Memorize your methodology. A chef, for the most part doesn’t start their shift scribbling down tasks on a piece of paper, then referencing them throughout their prep work and through service. It’s important to really know the tasks at hand, so you can glide through them with grace and efficiency.
Wylie Dufresne, the James Beard award-winning chef and owner of New York restaurants wd~50 and Alder says that he would make a list every day, then throw it away, then write it again. So go into each day with a routine plan and knowledge of what needs to be done, so you’re not scrambling when the day gets going.
Be Accountable For Your Time
Time is of the essence when it comes to food preparation and service, and applying the same value on time as a chef does will increase efficiency.
“Mise-en-place forces cooks to account for every minute of their time and, says chef Dwayne Lipuma, every movement,” in an NPR article. The idea is that a chef sets-up their workstation to minimize movement and promote fluidity, so that actions throughout a service are minimal and like a dance. From your morning routine to your office space, a non-chef can adapt the same structure and precision to all different aspects of their life.
There’s the saying that says something like a clean space creates a clear mind. Of course for a chef, working clean is important because of health, but the cleaning as you go process that chefs use can be applied to day-today life too. Not cleaning as you go, eventually creates a huge mess, which can become a major roadblock. Whether it’s letting work pile-up both figuratively and non figuratively. Working clean keeps things simpler and easier.
Slow Down To Speed Up
A chef would rather take an extra five minutes to execute a dish correctly, than to speed through it, serve a dish that’s incomplete or mediocre, only to have it sent back and be remade. The idea is that ultimately taking your time to complete something correctly saves more time in the long run.