Cutting board

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A cutting board is a must, especially if you want to maintain the sharpness of your knife for a longer period. There are many different types of cutting boards from plastic, bamboo, edge grain wood, end grain wood, etc. But what cutting board is good? I worked in many different restaurants, and they all use rubber or commercial plastic cutting board with different colors, or each board has its own workstation (some exemptions like cooked meat, etc.). So meat, vegetables, and fish have their own cutting board and colors/workstation. This is because of the food safety that we need to maintain as a restaurant to avoid cross-contamination.

There is a heavy debate that wood is bacteria-killing and can be used anywhere. Unfortunately, we at the restaurant need to comply with food safety rules, and therefore we use plastic or synthetic rubber. What you use in your kitchen at home is up to you. To avoid cross-contamination, we at the restaurant need to follow the HACCP rules here in Europe. Therefore we can’t use wood as our cutting board.

There are some exceptions like cooked meat but for a specific guideline, contact your food safety agency.

My recommendation: Asahi Synthetic Rubber Cutting Board

HACCP (Food Safety)

HACCP means Hazard, Analysis, Critical, Control, Points. At the restaurants, we sometimes get the health inspection where they rate us. HACCP is there to protect the guest on food safety:

  1. Hazard (Food Safety)
    Identifying hazards risk.
  2. Analyzing (Identifying Critical Control Points)
    They analyze the risk factors and take samples. (temperature check, bacteria check, cutting-board surface bacteria sample, etc.)
  3. Critical (Good Hygiene practices)
    Establishing the critical limits. They will point out that we can’t do certain things and need to fix them asap (Good Hygiene practices). They also took samples at the Analyzing step so that they can check for bacteria at the lab.
  4. Control (Making sure we keep the good hygiene practices by regularly monitoring)
    They will monitor the restaurants so that we don’t make the same mistakes again, and they keep control by regularly inspecting the restaurants. They also took samples in step 2, and if there is anything wrong, we will get notified if there are too many bacteria found in food or kitchen appliances. The restaurants will get points at the last step.
  5. Points
    If we did not pass in the point system at any given steps and risk factors for guest safety, we could see it in our report. They will verify the inspection date, provide us with documents and points on where we need to improve. And they will repeat these steps throughout the year and come unannounced.

What cutting board should you use?

You need to decide what type of cutting board you want, like plastic, wood, bamboo, and rubber. Each material has its own down and upside. After that, I recommend that you buy the biggest cutting board. If the board can sit on one side in your sink, you are good to go. This is necessary and useful since you need to clean your board after. The larger the cutting board, the more space you have to prepare a larger amount of prep work. You can also go for a small cutting board, but you have to transfer your food a lot more onto a plate, slowing your workflow.

Note: The size of the knife plays a huge role in what size you should buy. Your knife must have enough room on the cutting board. If the blade extends outside the cutting surface, then your board is too small for your knife. More information about choosing your knife can be found here.


Wooden cutting board

Let’s start with a wooden board. It may be the most popular cutting board for many home cooks. You see a wooden board on many recipe videos on youtube or even recommend a wooden board. But is it really that great? It is knife-friendly due to its soft nature and aesthetically pleasing to see. Now the disadvantages, it is heavy (end grain), expensive (end grain), stains, requires more care and maintenance, and it absorbs unwanted liquids. A separate cutting board for raw protein and one for veggies is recommended.

Bamboo (Bamboo is comparable with a plastic cutting board) - Wood - End Grain ''Rubber Wood'' Cutting Board
Bamboo (Bamboo is comparable with a plastic cutting board) – Wood – End Grain ”Rubber Wood” Board

Note: A bamboo cutting board is comparable with a plastic cutting board. However, it is not knife-friendly, especially for knives with a high HRC. The following Steeltypes should not be used on a Bamboo cutting board, R2, SG2, ZDP189, and other High Carbon Japanese steel types. Your knife will dull a lot faster.


Plastic cutting board

You may have read all the different websites where they don’t recommend plastic boards. But they are still selling them everywhere. Why do they sell something that no one on the internet recommends? They are durable, easy to clean, nonporous, versatile, and inexpensive. However, they are light, visually less appealing, and sharp knives will cause permanent damage. You can’t repair a plastic cutting board, so the best solution is to replace them. The commercial plastic cutting board is thicker and therefore also used in many restaurants (HACCP).

Plastic Cutting Board
Plastic Board

Synthetic Rubber cutting board

You may have never heard of rubber boards. But when I was working in a professional kitchen (Japanese Restaurant), all I could see was rubber cutting boards (in some cases commercial thick plastic). They were thick and had a pattern in them. We used an imported Japanese commercial-grade rubber cutting board, but it is essential to clean it properly.

My recommendation: Asahi Synthetic Rubber Cutting Board

Rubber cutting board for home cooks

They sell rubber boards for home cooks. There is a difference in maintenance and cleaning these types of boards. They removed the textures so that it matches with a wooden board. Therefore you don’t have to use scrubbing steel wool for it. It still has the same probability as the commercial-grade rubber, but the self-healing is slightly less than a commercial-grade board.

Ashahi - Japanese Rubber Cutting Board - With wooden textures for home cooks
Asahi – Japanese Rubber Board – With wooden textures for home cooks

Wood, Plastic or Rubber cutting board?

Material

Wood

Advantages

  • Durable
  • Knife friendly due to soft nature
  • Pleasing for presentation (cooking shows etc.)

Disadvantages

  • Heavy (end grain)
  • Expensive (end grain)
  • Stains
  • Requires more care and maintenance
  • Absorbs unwanted liquids
  • The odor from food like meat
  • Not recommended for protein
  • Warping, chips, cracks, and swells

Plastic

  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Nonporous
  • Inexpensive
  • Versatile
  • Light (slides around)
  • Visually less appealing
  • Sharp knives cause permanent damage
  • It needs to be replaced (Since they are thin and cheap, it is better to replace them after a period of time).

Rubber

  • Self-Healing
  • Easier on knife blades
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Will not crack, swell, splinter or chip
  • Will not absorbs liquid and odor
  • Good for commercial use
  • Expensive
  • Not recommended for cutting cooked protein*
  • *Some can handle heat up to 90°C (194°F)

My recommendation: Asahi Synthetic Rubber Cutting Board


Safety

Each cutting board will slide and move around, no matter what type of cutting board you are using unless it comes pre-installed with rubber feet. There is an easy solution for this. Some people use a damp cleaning cloth, and others use damp kitchen paper. I recommend an anti-slip mat that you can precut the shape yourself, and they are inexpensive. I bought mine for 1 euro at a euro store. The other solution that I recommend is a silicon baking sheet. This will prevent your cutting board from going all over the place so that you can work with more precision and reduce the chances of getting yourself cut.

Maintenance

For a wooden board, you need to oil it. After you receive yours, let it soak as much oil as possible until it no longer can soak any oil. I recommend mineral oil or any oil that they make for wooden cutting boards. You need to reapply the oil from time to time, depending on how many times you use it. You can easily see when to add oil. You feel or see that the board is dried out. If there are too many cutting marks, you can always grind that away with sandpaper.

Note: Always handwash your cutting boards. Don’t use your dishwasher!


My recommendation:

Asahi Synthetic Rubber Cutting Board

You can leave your questions in the comment section below.

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10 Comments

  1. What do you think about composite Wood boards like Epicurean?
    Maybe they are a bit hard for knife edges, but more convenient than Wood or plastic.

  2. Why do you say a plastic cutting board can’t be restored? I’ve restored quite a few with a DA sander and 320 grit sandpaper.

    1. Thank you for the comment. Technically speaking, everything can be restored.
      Most plastic is very cheap, and replacing it is a better option, and you also have texturized plastic.

      I have spoken to multiple people worldwide, and I realize that different parts of the world do things differently (have different standards and habits).
      I’m slowly learning what other standards are outside of Europe (The Netherlands), and I have learned a lot about it.

      As for power tools, it is not common in the Netherlands to own when you live in a city, and we usually hire a professional to fix our homes. (or it is in our contract that the landlord needs to fix it).
      And when we do need to do repair work at home, we hire the power tools instead of buying.
      For us in The Netherlands, it is not common to own a sander to do the repair work on cutting boards, but thanks to you, I realize again that other parts of the world do things differently.

      I have changed the text of the post. Thank you for the correction/question.

  3. hi, thanks for the great reviews.
    can you please review some rubber chinese boards or other ruber boards with a more affordable price?

    1. I have looked for Chinese rubber boards; unfortunately, the shipping cost is not free, and with the added shipping, it makes the boards just as pricey as I can get them locally.

      If I can find a good deal I will do a review, so far no luck.

  4. I prefer to use wood cutting boards since they are handy to use. Great reviews on different boards in which readers can choose from.

  5. Greetings, do you have recommendations for a quality rubber cutting board serious home Cook? Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

    Robin

    1. Currently, I use the Hasegawa rubber one with a wooden core. It is my favorite one but expensive, you can also find texturized plastic or rubber from a b2b supplier (catering industry suppliers).
      Most of the time you need to order above $100 USD but they offer commercial grade products (still cheaper than the Hasegawa and they last a long time make sure they are quite thick and not too thin).
      Those suppliers are also doing more and more businesses with consumers now but I don’t know if your country has a supplier that is willing to deliver for domestic use (usually is a minimum order problem so the order must exceed $100+ dollar before they fulfill an order).
      Sorry for the late reply I thought I already replied to you my bad.

  6. Hi Sir, I would like to know your thoughts on stainless steel cutting boards. Are they suitable for knives since it is not easily damaged? Of course am more concerned how it would affect the knives in anyway particular. Thanks

    1. Hi Kenrick Kong Chee Hung,

      I would highly advise against a stainless surface to use it as your cutting board.
      It will definitely dull your knife a lot faster. I think the purpose of those stainless steel boards or surfaces is highly misunderstood.

      Since they sell it as a stainless steel board, the same applies to marble and glass surfaces/plates.

      Stainless surfaces/plates are useful as a hygienic solution as your workspace. So making dough and use a dough scraper to cut it. So great for making pizza dough, pasta dough, bread dough so basically ideal surface for pastry and more.

      The only time to use a knife on it is with a ”cheap” paring knife, to cut something in 2 very fast but even in this situation, you will never use force to cut through food. So you are basically barely touching the stainless steel surface.

      So definitely not recommended as a cutting board, the sellers of this kind of product should never use the word ”cutting” in the description or title. So naming it ”stainless steel board” or ”stainless steel prepping board” should be used to avoid confusion. And I also would say that they should never display a kitchen knife in the pictures to boost sales.

      They should only show pictures of dough on it, a scraper or pots and pans on the stainless steel board.

      The same applies to marble and glass surfaces/plates.

      Hope that this answers your question feel free to ask more 🙂

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