Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mise En Place (Or Be Prepared)

I confess, I'm a foodie! I love to watch cooking shows of all types. Top Chef is my favorite reality show and the new season has just started. I always learn something when I watch this show. I am seriously thinking of learning French just so I can understand some of the often used culinary terms.

This week's favorite French term is "mise en place", which means "everything in its place." It is used in professional kitchens to refer to ingredients and components set up and prepared in advance of the actual cooking of the dish. Ingredients are measured, washed, chopped and placed in individual bowls. Utensils and equipment are also made ready for use. The purpose is to cut out wasted time when the chef is ready to cook the dish.

The mise en place competition on Top Chef is always fun to watch. The contestants are divided into teams and must tackle each task in a relay race, tasks such as chopping veggies, shucking oysters, beating egg whites, etc.

It's like watching a sporting event, but with food! What could be more fun than that? For a foodie like me, not much!

photo by wickenden

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