Mise en Place: Local Dining Trend in 2013

Putting it all in place.

By Allison Austin Scheff & Sara Dickerman April 29, 2013


This article originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Mise en place is the French kitchen term for all those chopped shallots, bacon bits and minced herbs a cook uses to assemble meals on the fly. These elements have traditionally been tucked away from diners’ sight. But in Renee Erickson’s airy new restaurant, The Whale Wins, mise en place is part of the picture. On a low counter in the open kitchen, roasted vegetables, toasted nuts and marinated mushrooms are assembled in shallow earthenware cazuelas. They are as much a part of the décor as the white porch lights craning over the tables. Erickson says a trip to London’s tony deli, Ottolenghi, known for its breathtaking displays of food, convinced her that the food in her new restaurant shouldn’t be hidden. And as vegetables take culinary prominence locally and internationally, Erickson’s insouciantly elegant display literally puts vegetable dishes front and center.

The mise en place at The Whale Wins (from top to bottom, left to right):

1. Harissa (North African chili sauce)
2. Pignolis (pine nuts)
3. Marinated mushrooms
4. Flaky sea salt
5. Toasted cumin seeds
6. Pistachios
7. Roasted golden beets
8. Toasted sesame seed
9. Matiz sardines
10. Halved fingerling potatoes
11. Minced chives
12. Roasted carrots
13. Roasted fennel
14. Tarragon
15. Pickled red onions
16. Roasted cauliflower



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