I've been working in food service for just over 30 years, from my first dish pit job to Executive sous chef at a super high end hotel, to the owner of my own business. Over the years I have encountered just about every different personality type, work ethic and style.

I have worked for perfectionists and slobs. I've employed both perfectionists and slobs. Both approaches have their good points and drawbacks. The perfectionist is often inflexible and can't change things on the fly. The slob is fast and great during the rush, but messy in everything they do.

One truth holds steady no matter what side of the equation your on, if you don't have your prep done or your mise en place set, you are going to get buried. It is just the reality of what is going to happen, it never fails!

With my current job, going to clients' homes with a box of groceries, there's no walk in, no fridge to grab a quick something from. You have to be prepared! My wife has pointed out to me that, for me, mise en place has touched just about every part of my life. From grocery shopping to doing the yard work, to giving our son a bath. Everything has its place and everything is in its place!

When you're ready to get started, it's always best to read through the recipe, get all your ingredients out and in order before you even start. Otherwise, you will eventually be in a situation where you don't have something you need and there's no good substitute, and then what? If you're at a critical point in the cooking process, you're screwed!


Recently I've been reading a lot of cookbooks, and there seems to be a trend from the new crop of celebrity chefs to add a statement that all sort sound the same. "Get out what you need for the recipe, and put away everything you don't. A cluttered station reveals a cluttered mind." Advice to live by!

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