Mise En Place: How to Organize Like a Chef

Cut your prep time in half with these tricks.

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Does it take you twice as long to prepare a recipe as what it should? Somehow, that 15-minute prep time quickly becomes 30 (or 60!) minutes. It’s a common issue, especially for new cooks, or if you’re trying a new style of cooking.

To avoid kitchen chaos, chefs use a trick called “mise en place,” a French culinary term for getting everything in place and organized before you start cooking. This includes your cutting board, measuring cups, knives, ingredients, and any necessary gadgets or appliances like mandolins or food processors. Organize your prep area, and you’ll avoid searching or digging for items at the last second.

You can take this mis en place organization a step further: peel, chop, and measure all ingredients before letting anything hit the oven. By having all that diced onion and chopped parsley and filleted salmon ready to go, you won’t have to keep referring back to your cookbook. This saves major time, and also prevents you from accidentally ruining your food.

For mise en place success, have several small bowls to hold your measured ingredients. Consider having a large bowl on hand for storing food scraps and garbage while you prep cook. Fewer trips to the garbage are always a good thing!

Check out this video for even more tips on setting up a prep area at home.