Organized Cooking – Get Your Mise en Place!

Another Kitchen entry inspired by Bon Appétit Magazine. More great ideas for maintaining order in your kitchen.

Top chef, Thomas Keller of renowned restaurants (The French Laundry – Yountville, CA and Per Se – Manhatten, NYC), says it’s “about having everything you need before you start cooking: picturing every task involved in creating a dish – all the ingredients and all the tools – and having them organized in advance. This is known as mise en place, the French culinary phrase which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place.”

According to Jon Shook, co-owner of several Los Angeles restaurants (animal, Son of a Gun, Trois Mec, Petit Trois, Jon & Vinny’s and Trois Familia) and an innovator in the LA dining world, for cooking efficiency it’s not about the size of your space or your floor plan. “It’s about staying efficient and keeping things clean”.

He suggests this process for cooking efficiency:Mise-en-Place

  1. UNLOAD – “Empty the dishwasher before you even go to the grocery store…because you’re going to fill it up fast when you finally start cooking”
  1. DE-CLUTTER – “People clutter counter tops with too much stuff… It gets in the way of cooking and makes it harder to keep it clean”. So, clear away as much stuff as possible before you start your prep.
  1. PUT THE CAN CLOSE – He advise that you put your trash / compost bin right where you will be cutting, and to avoid the dripping trip across the room.
  1. BREAK IT DOWN – Once you return from grocery shopping, put away the perishables and start breaking down vegetables into the smallest portions. “For example, if you’re cooking with beets, chop the tops off and put the beets where you’re going to be cutting them.”
  1. CHOP ON – Shook suggest you set UPC a chopping station and do all the chopping at once. “Cut your vegetables first and prep your meat second. You won’t have to worry as much about cross-contamination”.
  1. COOK, CLEAN, COOK AGAIN – Once you have completed the cold prep and everything is down to it’s ready size, move to the stove and finish the hot dishes. “As soon as you dirty a pan, clean it and put it away; or use it again”, says Shook.
  1. SIMPLY SERVING – Finally, Shook’s advises to forget about the fancy plating or even serving platters to keep things “rustic and fun”. “Serve foods in the dishes you actually cooked them in. I’ll prep salad right in the salad bowl. Don’t be scared to serve something right out of the pot”. That keeps food hotter longer and cuts down on the clean up afterwards. Heavenly!

Voilà!  These chef’s are speaking my language!

Bon appétit and let me know how it goes.

Top Chef Wisdom for an Organized Kitchen

Besides enjoying remarkable food, one of my favorite things about restaurant eating, when the kitchen is in view, is seeing the orderly, mostly low-tech and typically small spaces from which they operate. From an Organizer’s perspective, It’s art, the efficiency and flow of the production that happens there. A Bon Appétit article enlightened me to… Continue Reading

Number 1 of My Top Five Clutter Tips

Clutter Tip #1. Ask Yourself Three Questions.      Is it Useful or Beautiful?      Is it Active?      Does it Serve Me? These are the key questions to ask yourself about everything in your possession when you want to organize your clutter. Your cheese greater may not be beautiful, but it is active and it… Continue Reading