Friday, July 15, 2011

Mise En What??



Mise En Place

From Wikipedia. Mise en place (pronounced [miz ɑ̃ plas], literally "putting in place") is a French phrase defined by the Culinary Institute of America as "everything in place", as in set up. It is 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 he or she expects to prepare during his/her shift.[1]

I was put through a "stress-test" today at the restaurant, having to man one station on my own. My job was to garnish the burger bun with the right type of vegetables and sauce as the sous chef transferred the meat patties straight from the grill. I would then pass it to the cold station where salad or fries are added before the final plate goes out the kitchen. I have to say, it was stressful! Good stress, if I may add. 

For Burger A, it's wild rockets, pepper cream, one full tablespoon relish (sundried tomatoes and onions mixed into a paste). For Burger B, it's iceberg (lettuce), one slice of tomato, bacon and cheese on meat patty, half tablespoon relish. Burger C is walnut butter, poached pears lined like a fan, meat patty, rockets. Burger D is iceberg, 2 slices tomatoes, jalapeno or was that anchovy sauce. Burger E is lemon mayo and something and something and something...

This is what my doctor friend said she had to cope with in Medical School. Disease A is symptoms 1, 2 and 4, disease B is symptoms 2, 3, 4 and 5, and so on. I just could not remember these things and at the same time, manage the order chits such that I know which table order I'm preparing. The job requires the skill of a juggler with a photographic memory.

The sous chef was impressive as dishes flew out of the kitchen with not one wrong order.

By the end of the shift, I could not tell any more my left hand from my right and with a sheepish grin, I called it another intern day and left the kitchen with sore feet and a happy heart.

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