I’ve never worked the line in a restaurant. In fact, my glorious summer as a busboy at Olive Garden notwithstanding, I’ve never spent any time in a restaurant kitchen. Put simply, I’m no cook.
But I’ve managed to pick up the first, and arguably most important, step in preparing more palatable home meals. Those that have worked the line call it mise en place. I call it food & forks before fire.
It means getting all your food chopped, tools prepped, and seasonings organized before you light the burner. Lest you burn the chicken while scrambling for a set of tongs or a shaker of thyme.
This kind of efficiency is required for restaurant line cooking. Where, from my perspective, prepping food seems an exercise in managed chaos.
But even if the only chaos you encounter is getting the burgers plated before kickoff, the principle of mise en place can make you a better home cook. Or, minimally, a less stressed one.