Glossary: Mise en place

It means “Get your shit together. Literally, and figuratively.”

Me explaining to a cook what “Mise en place” means

What does mise en place (AKA mise) mean?

This is the first (of hopefully many) glossary terms I will write about. First, it’s supposed to be good for search ranking if I link relevant content to others in my site. Second it helps someone out by explaining what it is. Last, it gives me an excuse to write.

Where is your mise en place for service?

-every chef ever checking their cook’s station before service.

The first time I heard the phrase was at culinary school–I’ve heard it in many kitchens but I’ve also heard this term used in other applications like in business meetings, or in a union contract.

The phrase is French translated literally as “everything in place.” I lived with a friend in high school who had parents who spoke French. I had learned a smidgen of French and naturally when we learned the culinary French terms, I acted as if I were the authority on how the words were pronounced because I actually believed that I could speak French. (I couldn’t. I wouldn’t learn how to speak French until seven years later, and according to my beautiful wife, my French accent is still horrible.)

So? Will Jason ever get to the point and tell us what does mise en place mean?

Sure. At its most basic, it means to get your shit together. Literally, and figuratively. Before you start any task (a recipe, or any process) you need to:

  • Know what you are about to do.
  • Understand the steps to do it.
  • Get all your tools together.
  • Get all your ingredients together.
  • Clean up, and clean as you go.

Mise en place (or just mise) can also be used as as a proper noun meaning the physical items (equipment, ingredients) needed to do the task. Mise can be yours, belong to someone else, or be a communal mise (like a sauté station’s prep for service is called mise.)

Note, the absolute worst thing you can do in a kitchen is steal or mess with another cook’s mise.

2 thoughts on “Glossary: Mise en place”

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