Tag Archives: professional kitchen

What is Mise en place?

The easy answer is, “everything in its place.” It’s a French phrase meaning that everything is organized and ready…But it is sooo much more!

In the professional kitchen mise en place is more of a philosophy or a way of life rather than just a simple phrase. Mise en place is everything needed to make the shift as smooth as possible. We learn it, we teach it, we get it tattooed on our bodies! As Chef Randy Burns has said, “Mise en place is a state of Mind.” It becomes an integral part of how we think. Whether we are working to implement a new recipe, planning an off-site catered event, or going camping with the family, the philosophy of mise en place infuses our souls with the need to hope for the best and plan for the worst. Everything in its place. A plan for everything.

Proper mise en place means that you are the master of your domain. You know how many covers you should do tonight, you know if it’s a holiday, or if there’s some other special event going on which may impact your covers. If a prep cook does some of your mise then you have verified the quantities and seen where the backups are stored. Trust no one, you verify it yourself.

Mise en Place is defined as:

  • The Ethos of the kitchen

  • So much more than minced shallots

  • Hope for the best, plan for the worst

  • Seconds save minutes

  • The foundation of success

  • The foundation of a successful shift

  • It makes or breaks you

  • A way of life

  • Learn it, know it, live it

  • Prep, Attitude, Focus, Drive

  • Slapping Murphy’s Law into place

  • Telling that bitch Murphy’s Law to sit the fuck down

  • Organisation of product, tools, and mind

  • Seeing and preventing a problem before it arrives


“Mise en Place”; what an exquisite phrase, it slides right off the tongue, effortlessly, like a lightly seared fresh sea scallop drizzled with a rich lemon Beurre Blanc, garnished with a chiffonade of fresh “fine herbs” and shaved truffles…  Seriously, mise en place is the principle, the base, the philosophy that rules every cook’s life; it is a term not just applied to your prepared ingredients, your fridge with prepped meats, your base sauces, stocks, garnishes, etc. ready to assemble; it is your organization, your knowledge, your ability to work with others, (kitchen work is definitely a team activity), your mental ability and preparedness. It is a philosophy; a state of mind! There are so many meanings, connotations and levels of “mise en place” that you’re constantly fine tuning your perception and definition of it. A Cook’s life revolves around “mise en place” and it’s what “makes you, or breaks you”. You’re only as good as your mise en place. It encompasses your prep, cooking, serving, menu design and execution; your ordering, scheduling, managing of the kitchen. The concept of “mise en place” can be applied to virtually any circumstance or scenario. It has taken me years to begin understanding this application to ALL facets of the kitchen, of business, of life; it’s not just my tray with chopped shallots, garlic, various herbs, garnishes, etc. all ready to go into the frying pan ‘ala minute”, it’s applicable to any strategy or action, ; and I’m still learning this every day.

For such a small, eloquent phrase it carries a lot of power, weight and meaning.

Cleanliness/Hygiene and organisation is an integral part of “mise”, they go hand in hand, the sooner you recognise and embrace this fact the further ahead “of the game” you will be.


The Unspoken Laws Of The Kitchen (The Code)