My first day in a professional kitchen, I learned how to set up a station for mise en place. I don’t always bother getting that organized at home if I’m just throwing together a quick meal after work. But any time I’m cooking multiple dishes, laying out all my tools in an ordered arrangement is essential to working cleanly and efficiently. And for big holiday meals in particular, it can shave precious minutes off prep time and keep me feeling organized and in control.
Here’s how I create a station specifically for prepping lots of veggies.
1. Cutting Board: Secure your cutting board to the counter with a cutting board stabilizer. If you don't have one, you can use a damp paper towel or dish towel. Don't let the edges of the towel peek out from beneath the board, since detritus tends to accumulate on those edges.
2. Prep Bowls: Grab an assortment of sizes so that you'll have what you need at the ready.
3. Discard Bowl: A handy place for scraps makes it easier to keep your board clean.
4. Bench Scraper: Have the tool on hand to scoop up your prepped vegetables in a snap and transfer them neatly to your prep bowls.
5. Cutting Tools: Place your chef's knife, paring knife, and peeler above the same side of the board as your dominant hand.
6. Dry Towel and Damp Towel: Keep your board, tools, and hands clean by washing or wiping them as necessary.
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