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Kitchenware Spotlight: The Cutting Board

Posted by Chef Zach on 2020 Jul 10th

Kitchenware Spotlight: The Cutting Board

We’re bringing the spotlight to one of the most overlooked superstars in the kitchen—the cutting board. Without one, food prep would be an absolute nightmare and you know it! Here are 7 things you should know about this kitchenware.

7 Things You Should Know About Cutting Boards

1. The Bigger, The Better

As long as it fits your kitchen counter, you're better off getting a bigger board. A larger cutting board will bless you with more room to work. More room means greater maneuverability for safer and more relaxed cutting. You also get zero distraction from chopped food getting in your way or piling on top of each other.

2. We live in a material world.

Any knife-respecting cook knows not to cut on a ceramic or glass board. Hard surfaces will dull your beloved blade. So, what materials should you choose?

According to the experts Jacob Dean of Michelin Guide California interviewed, you’d want to go with wood and rubber boards. But even these two have pros and cons.

There’s a certain aesthetic and uniqueness to wood boards that rubber ones lack. However, what you lose in aesthetics, you gain in easy-maintenance and cheaper price tags.

Rubber boards are the restaurants’ choice as they don’t harbor bacteria, are inexpensive, easy on knives, and can easily be refinished with sandpaper.

Wood boards, on the other hand, require proper care to last long. Moisture and heat are your enemies. Make sure not to clean your wood boards in the dishwasher. Dry them properly before storing them.

3. Read up before jumping into the bamboo bandwagon.

Intuition will tell you that bamboo is a wood. Prepared to be bamboozled—it’s a type of grass!

Lately, bamboo cutting boards are becoming the alternative for more expensive wood boards.

Here are the good things:

  1. They are sustainable and renewable.
  2. They are more water-resistant and resilient than wood boards.
  3. They absorb less moisture, so they harbor fewer bacteria.
  4. They are inexpensive.

The not-so-good:

  1. They are harder and denser than wood. They can damage your blades.
  2. Some bamboo boards are glued with formaldehyde-containing agents. You wouldn’t want that in your food.

4. How many boards are enough?

Ideally, you have to get one for produce and one (plastic or rubber) for meats. Wood boards are porous and water-absorbent. It’s safer to cut meats on a surface that doesn’t house an army of bacteria.

5. Wooden cutting boards are alive. They have feelings.

Well, at least according to Chris Morocco of Bon Appetit Magazine. If you want your wooden board to last long, you gotta show it some love.

Here’s how to make your cutting board happy ala Chris Morocco:

  • Use it. Meat and vegetable juices re-hydrates the wood.
  • Wash it with warm soapy water. Scrub thoroughly but not aggressively.
  • Protect it. Once properly dried, treat your board with a little conditioning mineral oil. Any food-grade mineral oil will do.

6. Should I bring my own cutting board at school or work?

Rubber and plastic cutting boards are the standard in most restaurant kitchens. However, these boards are prone to slippage when cutting. As an alternative and a safer option, some cooks and chefs may opt to bring their own heavier wooden chopping blocks on the job. 

If you're worried about needing to travel across town carrying a heavy block of wood, just don't. Small (8x10 in.) or medium (10x14 in.) sized boards work fine for most restaurant kitchen jobs. You can also consider getting portable chefs bags like our  Chef Knife Backpack Set to make travelling with your tool easier and comfortable. 

7. When to say goodbye?

At some point, you’d need to replace your cutting boards. As a general rule, if it has gotten deep grooves and scrubbing and sanitizing can’t cut it anymore, it’s time to say goodbye.