Two of the most important stages of cooking are setting up your cooking area, and clearing it down afterwards. Walk into any good Professional kitchen and you’ll notice that every utensil has its own spot, all the ingredients are grouped together and the work space is very tidy. This sort of organization is one of the first things chefs are taught at school, and it even has a fancy French name: Mise En Place, which translates as ‘everything in place’. Having a clear space to work means you’ll be able to focus on the job you are doing, and do it well. Good cooks clear away mess as they go, and clean up really well after they’ve finished cooking. This keeps the kitchen clean, safe and hygienic.
BEFORE YOU START COOKING
• Clear away anything you don’t need. Give yourself space to lay out ingredients and room to work. Mug trees, radios, magazines, piles of mail and other clutter should be put somewhere else.
• Wipe down your surfaces, preferably with an antibacterial spray, so everything is clean when you begin.
• Read through the recipe you’re about to cook, then get out all the equipment that you’re going to need. Make sure it’s clean and ready to go so you won’t have to stop and look for something halfway through cooking.
• Measure out your ingredients ahead of time and line them up on your workbench. This will make cooking so much easier and more enjoyable.
• If you’re going to be cooking in the oven, turn it on so it has time to come up to the temperature you need.
• Make sure all your appliances are unplugged, and your oven, grill are all turned off.
• Put away any ingredients you no longer need.
• Store any leftover food in clean containers then let it cool before covering and putting in the fridge.
• Wash up your dirty dishes and pans.
• Wipe down your surfaces and hob, preferably with an antibacterial spray, to make sure everything’s nice and clean for the next time.
• Check the floor. If you’ve dropped any food or liquid, clean it up so nobody slips on it.