SWEET DECADENCE: Mise en huh? Cooking Education 101 from Pastry Chef Maria Kemp

by | In the Kitchen, Recipes

Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms

LKNConnect is thrilled to welcome Maria Kemp, pastry chef and owner of Beyond Decadence. In 2017, Maria established Beyond Decadence as Lake Norman’s first and only pop-up bakery specializing in American, gluten-free, and French desserts. During the pandemic, she moved away from being a pop-up bakery to an online bakery and began offering nationwide shipping. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Maria spent over two decades working as an Information Technology Consultant for Fortune 100 & 500 companies. Her love for baking was only a hobby until 2007, when she transitioned from IT Consultant to full-time pastry school student. Maria is active in the Lake Norman community through initiating “pay it forward” movements and providing free virtual baking classes at the beginning of the pandemic. She has won several pitch competitions and awards from the City of Charlotte, and she has been featured on TV, radio, podcasts, and a magazine cover. Welcome, Maria! Be sure to follow Maria’s column, Sweet Decadence, for her Pro Tips and more every other Tuesday. — Hanna Schoenrock, Managing Editor

What does “mise en place” mean?

From Google: “Mise en place (MEEZ ahn plahs) is a French term for having all your ingredients measured, cut, peeled, sliced, grated, etc. before you start cooking or baking. Pans are prepared. Mixing bowls, tools and equipment set out.”

Order and organization

Mise en place is the order of the day in any professional kitchen, and it is a practice I encourage you to implement in your home kitchen as well. It is the only way professional kitchens can possibly execute every recipe efficiently and in a timely manner.  Can you imagine how chaotic it would be if all the chefs, cooks, and kitchen staff WAITED to do all the prep until they began making a recipe or when you ordered it?

Don’t get caught without a key ingredient

Imagine the order employing mise en place could bring to your own baking or cooking time in the kitchen. Still not sold yet? Let’s take a walk down Memory Lane for a moment. Remember the last time you were in the “I want to bake some brownies (or whatever your favorite dessert is) right now” mood, and you got halfway through the recipe only to discover you were out of a key ingredient?

This tragedy never would have occurred if you used mise en place. Even if you didn’t go through all the effort to pull out every bowl, spoon, or tool, but at a bare minimum you made sure you had all the required ingredients AND a sufficient amount of each to complete the recipe. You would have avoided having a recipe in progress only to realize you were missing something you needed.

After all, there’s nothing worse than being excited to eat some fudgy, rich, gooey brownies that never even made it to the oven.

Happy Cooking!



In 2017, Maria established Beyond Decadence as Lake Norman’s first and only pop-up bakery specializing in American, gluten-free, and French desserts. As Pastry Chef and Owner of Beyond Decadence, Maria Kemp wears many hats on any given day. In her words, “At the end of the day, awards, accolades, recognition, being a French Pastry School alumni simply don’t matter if I don’t consistently produce a remarkable product or craft a memorable private virtual baking experience. My goal is to exceed my clients’ expectations on every level and/or tantalize their taste buds. I thrive on and gain inspiration from building relationships with my clients and finding ways to share my knowledge to demystify the art of baking. I don’t deviate with every latest fad; I stay focused in areas where my skills can truly shine. I am deeply humbled and proud to have earned the privilege of becoming a thought-leader/speaker in the entrepreneurial community and private baking instructor for several corporations.”

You can connect with Maria at https://linktr.ee/beyonddecadence or contact her directly at pastrychef@beyonddecadence.com.





The views, thoughts and opinions expressed by our writers belong solely to them
and do not represent LKNConnect.com, its publisher or its staff.


Use the Connect Buttons below to connect to this featured business!