I have heard professional chefs use the term “mise en place” on cooking shows, but I didn’t fully understand what it meant until I needed to cook my mushroom risotto for my network learning project. Mise en place is a French term that means “set in place”. It means to have all ingredients prepped, ready, and close by to be put into the recipe. I first began by reading Jamie Oliver’s mushroom risotto recipe and getting the first ingredients in the pan to cook. What I should have done is prep all the ingredients by cleaning, cutting, and sorting them so they would be ready when I needed them. While cooking I felt that I was not doing something right.
By thinking about what I learned about the recipe and how I was doing while cooking, I knew I was making certain mistakes. “Metacognition is having the ability to monitor one’s current level of understanding and decided when it’s not adequate . . . The ability to recognize the limits of one’s current knowledge, then take steps to remedy that situation, is extremely important for learners of all ages” (Bransford et al., 2000, p. 42) By not getting my mise en place I was playing catch up during the whole cooking time. I should have known to do this when watching Jamie cook his risotto recipe on his Youtube channel.
I used Seriouseats to learn how to make basic knife cuts. I needed to be able to cut onions, celery, and mushrooms that would all be added to the risotto. I used the slice cut for the onions and mushrooms, and I used the rock-chop for the celery. The slice cut was the most difficult because I was worried I would cut myself. Using Seriouseats as a resource was great to learn the basic knife cuts. I tried using the food52 hotline to ask how to cut other foods, but I wasn’t able to find anything that would help me. I searched YouTube and found a channel that focuses on teaching different knife cuts. On the Tasty YouTube channel, it shows how to get your cutting board ready and shows how to properly hold the knife when cutting. I am glad I was able to find this new resource because now I know how to hold a knife and cut different foods properly.
Cooking Jamie Oliver’s mushroom risotto was challenging because once you start cooking the rice you have to be constantly stirring. Since I did not setup properly for this recipe I had to stop stirring at times to get the next ingredient ready. Another challenging part of cooking the risotto was knowing when it was done. The recipe called for cooking and adding chicken stock for 15-20 minutes. I was scared of cooking it too long, so I opted for the shorter cooking time. The time finally came for my wife to taste the mushroom risotto that I had been working on for 45 minutes. Her initial reaction was that it smelled really good. Now the first bite. I waited for a smile of delight or a grimace of disappointment. The outcome was that she liked the taste, but it could have been cooked a little longer. Knowing that I had some more time to cook the risotto, I will be sure to take those extra minutes when I cook it for her next time.
Bransford, J., Brown, A.L. & Cocking, R. R. (Eds.), How people learn: Brain, mind, experience and school (pp. 3-27). Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309070368
Magazine, J. (2017, October 31), How to Make Mushroom Risotto. Jamie Oliver. Retrieved from https://www.jamieoliver.com/magazine/how-to-make-mushroom-risotto/
*Pictures and videos are my own