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Mise en place (French pronunciation: [mi zɑ̃ ˈplas]) is a French culinary phrase which means "putting in place" or "everything in its place." It refers to the set up required before cooking, and is often used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients (e.g., cuts of meat, relishes, sauces, par-cooked items, spices, freshly chopped vegetables, and other components) that a cook will require for the menu items that are expected to be prepared during a shift.
The practice also applies in home kitchens.
The term has also been used outside of cooking: psychologists Weisberg et al. used the phrase to refer to "how one's stance towards a given environment places constraints on what one feels able to do within that environment, and how these assessments and predispositions impact the process of preparing to act." They used the term in a study of how a school became safer after security measures — like metal detectors and bars on the windows — were removed, leading to the unexpected outcome.
The writer and chef Dan Charnas uses the concept of mise en place as a "philosophy" and "system" for what chefs believe and do, even going so far to call it an "ethical code." In the kitchen, the phrase is used as a noun (i.e., the setup of the array of ingredients), a verb (i.e., the process of preparing) and a state of mind. All of these uses, however, refer to someone who knows to be well-prepared. In this view, the term's broader meanings can be applied to classrooms, hospitals, and elsewhere.
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