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Mise en Place

Mise en Place

As chefs, we often hear the phrase “Mise en Place” – meaning keep everything in place, ready for cooking. In a commercial kitchen, especially a busy one, this arrangement becomes crucial for optimal productivity.

Each of us would have our unique Mise en place, to the extent that we would be able to pick up the right ingredients without as much as a glance at them. Akin to becoming a seasoned driver.

Stepping out of the professional setup, when I’d set out on my culinary jaunts, my first stop would invariably be Street food.

Getting your favourite Chaat tailor made to your palate is a joy that cannot be articulated in words. The satisfaction after the first mouthful can only be expressed by the blissful closing of the eyes and a silent (or sometimes not so silent) moan of delight.

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But think about it. Isn’t a street food vendor’s thela, a quintessential Mise en place?Be it the Pani puri wala who knows exactly which pot of paani to dip into for your ‘medium teekha’ or the famous Chole-Kulche vendor in Dilli who adds the precise amount of spices and a magic concoction to the ‘Chole’ in a matter of minutes as you salivate and watch; or the uber famous Bhel puri seller who never misses an ingredient or the sequence and comes up with the perfect Bhel every time..the list is endless.

But truth be told, Mise en place is an integral aspect of not just commercial but home kitchens as well. I spent much of my free time as a kid with my Biji and Mom in the kitchen.

Even now, if I close my eyes to recall those scenes, I can clearly picture the set intuitive order of spices in their Masala dani, salt on the right, oil on the left; how if anything was kept out of place their whole world changed.. Notice a pattern?

Another memory that my mind jogs up is of Mubarak chacha in Lucknow, a third generation raqabdar at a Nawab’s palace. His Mise en place comprised of his special Potli of Masalas (no name or number), firewood and Ittar.
My only contribution was to light the fire and follow him around trying to keep up. He cooked a meal of six dishes for six people in 45 minutes flat, while I was just wondering what hit me!!

Up until now, I have prepared several Chaat dishes for my Youtube videos, inspired by the street food I have sampled. Yep, I say inspired, for just thinking about the humbling ease with which the vendors whip up their magical fares, still leaves me awestruck.

Mise en Place, as a phrase might have French origins, but the concept is pretty much ingrained in the cooking pattern of any regular meticulous cook in every corner of Le Monde.

As I always say, good food is about 10% cooked on the fire, 90% is already done in its prep, I mean, Mise en Place 🙂

Comments

  1. Beautiful write-up that reminds us to follow the simple rule “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place”.

    Thank you RB Ji.

  2. Ranveer ji am always passionate about cooking with utmost perfection. I would be grateful to you if you give me an opportunity to work with you.

  3. Hi i love your videos please tell the uncle bhailpuri ingredents so we can make at home ..love the indian food &its culture …..its my dream to come to india &have that stuff but hopes alive…)

  4. I completely agree. It’s not just about the kitchen but everything in its own place ensures a better life as well.

    But in the kitchen is where it’s practiced the most – after all who wants to err when it comes to food 😜

  5. Your writing is a true testament to your expertise and dedication to your craft. I’m continually impressed by the depth of your knowledge and the clarity of your explanations. Keep up the phenomenal work!

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