You may (or may not) know that I teach a popular class called "Just the Basics". It is a place where people can spend an entire hour learning and practicing basic knife skills, followed by two hours of learning basic kitchen organization and cooking. Everything that makes life in the kitchen easier so that you might want to do it more often and cooking a meal doesn't seem so dreadful. You may be wondering...don't most people who go to cooking classes already know how to cook or love to cook? Why would they need a basic class?
Well, au contraire, mon ami! (I'm cooking for a Julia Child-inspired fundraiser for Planned Parenthood this week so I'm feeling very French.) Many, if not most, of my peeps are a little intimidated by the kitchen or are bored with what they cook at home. Consequently, I get a lot of requests for the Basics Class. It is also a smaller class where people can get much more one-on-one attention as well as some extra goodies to take home.
This is a long introduction to what is one of the most important organizational tricks you can apply in your home kitchen. It is the backbone of any professional kitchen because without it, you'd never get a dish completed and to the guest in your restaurant.
It is MISE EN PLACE. Yes, French, again. It simply means to "put in place" and it is the way to organize your kitchen work space to make your cooking easy and much less stressful. So what do you do? You prepare everything and put it in a place where you can use it easily once you start cooking.
Why does it make your cooking life easier? Everything is ready to go and handy when you need it.
What do you need? Everything that goes into your dish in order of use.
How do you do it? Cut up and measure (if you must) your ingredients. Have containers ready and lined up. Put your prepared food in the containers and VOILA! You're ready to go!
And, if you're wondering what this might look like...here are a number of ways you can do it, with and without containers.
This is what mise en place looks like in a home kitchen. You can use containers or simply organize your ingredients on your cutting board. Whatever works for you. But if you've never seen what "mise" looks like in a professional kitchen. Here you go.
Yes, that's what all of those little containers are for! A line cook starts down the row (or line) and pulls the ingredients for the specific dish and adds them to the pot or pan he/she is using. Easy as that!
If you're interested in learning more about cooking basics, there is a Just the Basics Class coming up on Wednesday, January 11, to get your year started off right! You can click right here to check it out. Don't wait too long, though, it fills up fast and we already have half a class-ful.
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Come join the fun! Take a class with us! Check out all of our classes by clicking RIGHT HERE!
I'd love to hear from you so leave me a comment and, let me know how this mise en place did (or didn't) work for you....let's have a conversation!