Mise en place definition for those unaware.

Mise en place (French pronunciation: ​[mi zɑ̃ ˈplas]) is a French culinary phrase which means "putting in place" or "everything in its place". It refers to the setup required before cooking, and is often used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients…
The practice can be applied in home kitchens.

My google-fu fails me on this. Dictionaries tell me what it is, but it has no antonym.
The idea cropped up as I was …ermm 'mentioning' that my partner's anticipated meal-time would be easier to hit precisely if everything was ready-prepped leaving only the actual cooking (I'd secretly estimated her dinner time would be half an hour later than she thought… shhh, she's now prepping it all in advance after some small discussion;) I then wondered what you would call my more common method of 'just in time' prep.

Depending on the dish I'm making I will either do a full mise en place, everything prepped & ready to go, or I will run a 'just in time' process where each ingredient is prepped just in time for it to be needed, eg prepping onions after rice goes on, then chopping the tomatoes whilst the onions are sautéing. Salad prep after everything hot is on the boil etc. Everything comes together only at the very end, at plating.

Is there a specific term for this 'just in time' prep?

  • 7
    Chaos? Disorganized? Flying-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants:-) Since it literally translates to "put in place", those are kinda of the actual "opposite". I've never heard of a functional term for it though.
    – talon8
    Apr 27, 2021 at 19:57
  • 4
    – Sneftel
    Apr 27, 2021 at 21:49
  • 2
    Prep-as-you-go gets some traction in online searches.
    – Spagirl
    Apr 27, 2021 at 22:25
  • 4
    That would be normal cooking for most people. Mise-en-place is actually the exception, experienced home cooks know how long it takes to make something end to end, you don't have to prepare everything up front to have something ready at a set time.
    – GdD
    Apr 28, 2021 at 13:41
  • Definite second the disorganized, chaotic point of view. Basically, there's the right way of doing something. Anything else is wrong and could have any number of names. Oct 3, 2023 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


I think the nearest opposite would be a la minute (at the minute). This is usually used in restaurant kitchens to refer to items that are cooked/prepared "at the minute" they are ordered. However, it's not fully the opposite.

For example, at a brunch buffet the omelettes would be cooked a la minute when they are ordered, rather than being pre-cooked with the rest of the buffet. However, even though the omelette is cooked a la minute, the ingredients will be prepped with proper mise en place to ensure that efficiency in cooking to order.

Therefore, the way I would describe "the opposite of mise en place" using fancy chef lingo is perhaps "doing all prep a la minute."


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