How To Efficiently Plan Your Food Prep And Cook Like A Pro

If your goal is to cook at home more often but you find that it takes too long or you end up doing endless wash-up because you've used all of the dishes, we've got some professional cooking tips to make your time in the kitchen more efficient. Professional chefs zip through their mise en place recipe preparation by grouping cutting steps, staying organized, and working clean — keeping the work area organized at all times.

If your recipe has several vegetables that need to be cut, bring all of the vegetables to your cutting board and prep them at the same time. Do each individual step before going on to the next: peeling, then trimming, and finally cutting the vegetables into the desired shape. You'll waste less time cleaning your cutting board and picking up and putting down your tools. Have a plate or tray ready to organize the cut items so you can be efficient in getting them into the pot or pan.

Assembly line thinking in the kitchen

Chefs use prep lists for efficiency — each menu item is broken into its components so the dish can be assembled quickly. You can follow the same mental checklist process at home, too. Read through your recipe (or think ahead if you are not following a recipe) to understand what needs to be done and when. This helps you stay organized in your head as well as your cooking space. Bring all of the items you need with you when you turn on the stove, then nothing will burn while you scramble to get the next ingredient.

Think of cooking like an assembly line: Each step needs to be done in turn at the right time for the food to turn out as you want it to. When you apply this method, you'll find the mundane cooking prep and cleaning take less time, and you can spend more of your mental energy thinking about the creative aspects of cooking: flavors, colors, and textures.