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Mise en Place

Previously I compared cooking with software development. Time to stretch that analogy further with more discussion of “Kitchen Confidential.”

Mise en place is the religion of all good line cooks. Do not fuck with a line cook’s “meez” – meaning their set-up, their carefully arranged supplies of sea salt, rough-cracked pepper, softened butter, cooking oil, wine, back-ups and so on.

The difference between a line cook on her feet for four straight hours serving 100‘s of meals in tight sychronicity and a programmer jotting off 100’s of lines of code at her desk is pretty stark. Each is a craft, however. Organization is a factor in the success of a craftsman. Not some sort of organization edict, but a unique understanding of how she works. Organization is not only where the tools are, but what they are and how they are configured.

A great developer will not take kindly to forced diversions from her preferred toolset. A great developer loves to see how others work. A great developer devours new techniques, increasing her kinetic energy in relation to mere mortals.

Working clean, constantly wiping and cleaning, is a desireable state of affairs for the conscientious line cook.

Organization means different things to different people. My idea of clean may be stomach turning to you. I am convinced those who embrace disruptive open office settings and constant Twitter pings on their computer are not being honest with themselves. Experimentation with a calmer, cleaner environment would lead to greater success in most cases.

One who has put her tools in place is likely of an organized and focused mind. She knows her tools, all within her reach. Right as they are needed.

Do not fuck with her meez.