Whenever I read a book, I find myself relating its contents to my life, and specifically, to my life at the agency. I seldom actually “get lost” in a book and simply enjoy it. Rather, I am incessantly underlining, highlighting, and dog-earing pages that contain relevant passages, inspiring quotes, or just good advice. I use books as management tools. In a previous blog post, for example, I wrote about how tennis could relate to what we do here at Hacker Group.
I recently finished Anthony Bourdain’s .Kitchen Confidential I am a lousy cook. But, having read the book, I am certainly more appreciative and knowledgeable about food. I was impressed by the frenetic pace of the kitchen, the unyielding commitment to quality, and the ferocious drive of a master chef. I was intrigued by the diversity of workers’ backgrounds – including petty theft and criminal mischief – and opinions and the teamwork necessary to deliver a night’s service. Sound familiar? (Excluding the petty theft and criminal mischief part, of course.)
The part of the book that made the biggest impact on me, however, was the concept of mise en place.
According to Wikipedia mise en place “is a French phrase defined as "everything in place", as in set up. It is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients that a cook will require for the menu items that he or she expects to prepare during his/her shift.
Recipes are reviewed to check for necessary ingredients and equipment. Ingredients are measured out, washed, chopped, and placed in individual bowls. Equipment, such as spatulas and blenders, are prepared for use, and ovens are preheated. Preparing the mise en place ahead of time allows the chef to cook without having to stop and assemble items, which is desirable in recipes with time constraints.”
When I read about mise en place I forgot about food and immediately thought about Hacker Group’s Operations team. They enforce order. They protect the agency from chaos. They create the sense of calm and comfort. Account, Creative, and clients can rest easy knowing our Operations team has figured out mise en place.