Mise En Place – Day 8

Mise en place is not just a word to throw around. It is serious business in the restaurant world. It might seem silly to have a bunch of bowls and items set up before service, but if your ‘mise’ isn’t ready, you are truly screwed up and always behind.

I got a shot of Coffeeman’s mise the other night when I walked by, including  a bit of him at work in the background.

Mise en place….

This isn’t all of Chef’s mise en place, but a part of it. Most of it is all behind him and in the pantry to the right. Or below.

Your mise en place is all of your ingredients for everything you make. Your back up prep, your garnishes, your everything so you don’t have to send a prep chef off running for something you are out of. For me up on pizza, my mise is huge. I have to have enough of everything so I’m not rushing back to the walkin at some random point where the tickets are piling up. My morning prep guy is terrible at getting enough mise en place ready for nightly service, so I am apt to just prep a bunch more when I walk in for my shift.

Mise en place is so important, Chef has it tattooed on his arms. And his arms came into play this summer when Lucifer was still doing saute and line work. Lucifer is never good at getting all his mise ready. He’s more inclined to have someone else do it for him and then rush around like a ninny right before service has started. It’s never good. It created a lot of havoc around the kitchen.

One time, Lucifer didn’t back up his white wine and vinegars and such before service, so right there after two or three tickets start coming in, he’s shouting for saffron broth and white wine to be filled in his bottles.  I was still basic prep at the time and him shouting meant for me to hustle and get it for him. I was flustered because Coffeeman had started moving things around and I couldn’t find what Lucifer wanted. At one point Lucifer yelled at me about what was taking so long and I went back with the bottle and slammed it down on the counter vibrating with frustration.

Coffeeman took one look at me and said, “fill the bottle, take it back and hand it to him then tell him “mise en place, mother-f**ker.'”

“I can’t do that, chef.” I protested. “He’ll come back at me.

“Yes you can. And no he won’t. Just say, “Chef said, “Mise en place, mother——“.

So I did. I walked over, presented the bottle with both hands and repeated the statement. Lucifer took one look at me, Wildflower was staring at me wide eyed, then Lucifer looked over my shoulder and said, “yes, Chef.”

Turns out Coffeeman had stood behind me and crossed his arms where his tattoos were visible  and made it clear he was backing me up.

I was shaking like a leave, mind you, but when I say your mise en place is important, it is.

Every night when I walk in, I make damn sure I have my backups. I have as much as I can prep ready and lined up for when those 12+ tables with a ticket a mile long come in.

If I were apt to get a tattoo, I might consider one with mise en place along my hand or something. I’m not going to get one, but still, that is how important your mise is.


Deep Cleaning – Day 7

Sunday, yesterday, I wasn’t able to post. I was just too gosh darn tired after a full week and I wanted to sit down when I finally got home and just veg on a good movie. Reason I was so tired was Sunday is deep cleaning day.  The grime has built up for the week and it’s time to do unfun jobs such as boiling out a fryer, or taking down the grates over the stove and degreasing them.

Spotless kitchen, wet floors, the smell of cleaners, the silence at the end of night…

For me, I avoid most deep cleaning days. Haha, but it’s only because I’m not on the schedule. However, I have deep cleaned a lot especially because back in the late spring and early summer, it was required every night. Well, maybe not the fryer or hood, but definitely all the floors and drains and such. The floors get swept really well then degreaser gets poured on the floor and finally they get sprayed down with a hose and very hot water.

The grime gets powerwashed off the floors and the spots in the corners. The weekly grime is lifted off and the kitchen suddenly doesn’t smell like a kitchen, but a very humid clean environment.

more wet floors and clean stainless

All the stainless shelves are wiped clean, and spots that get left during the week are suddenly back to rights. Granted, after I finished yesterday and was showing off the perfect space to my GM Sassy Girl, I found spots that weren’t quite up to par…. oops. And of course she would see them. But the general grime was off the floor. The kitchen actually looks a heck of a lot better than I have seen it in weeks.

Back when Micha and I were closing together, it looked like it does now, every night. I sometimes miss the spraying down of the floors every time we close; the steam billowing up and feeling damp and like you are in the tropics. Just picture steam billowing out of a door with the lights back lit into the cold night air. The sharp but pleasant smell of cleaners and knowing that everything is spotless.

Ick, the floors before!

I can’t say as I miss the back breaking work. I am so exhausted today with only one day off before it all begins again. And I will say that the walkin did not get wiped down to its full potential, but since I will be in and out of it putting produce away tomorrow…. well then, I’ll make sure it’s more clean when I’m done.