Cutting board

A cutting board is a must especially if you want to maintain the sharpness of your knife for a longer period. There are a lot of different types of cutting boards from plastic, bamboo, wood, end grain wood, etc. But what cutting board is good? I worked in a lot of different kitchens in a restaurant and they all use a rubber cutting board with different kinds of color or each board has its own work station. So meat, vegetables, and fish have their own cutting board and colors.

What cutting board should you use?

What you need to decide for yourself is which type you want like plastic, wood, bamboo, and rubber, each material has their 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 then you are good to go (this is necessary and useful since you need to be able to clean your board after). The larger the cutting board the more space you have to use your Mise and Place technique. You can also go for a small cutting board but you have to transfer your food a lot more on to a plate. A larger cutting board will save you some time.

Note: The size of the knife plays a huge role in what size board 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 to small for your knife. For 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 recipes videos on youtube or they even recommend a wooden board. But is it really that great? It is knife friendly due to its soft nature and it aesthetically pleasing to see. Now the disadvantages, it is heavy, expensive, it stains, require more care and maintenance and it absorbs unwanted liquids and therefore it is not recommended for raw protein.

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: Bamboo cutting board is comparable with a plastic cuttingboard. However it is not knife friendly especially for knives with a high HRC. The following Steeltypes should never be used on a Bamboo cuttingboard, R2, SG2, ZDP189, and all other High Carbon Japanese steeltypes. It will simply destroy your edge.

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.

Plastic Cutting Board
Plastic Board

Rubber cutting board

You may have never heard of rubber boards. But when I was working in a professional kitchen all I could see was rubber cutting boards. It was not the plastic cutting boards that you can buy everywhere let’s make that clear. They were thick and have a pattern in them. We used imported Japanese commercial grade rubber cutting board but it is very important to clean it properly. We don’t scrub it with a soapy sponge and water alone. You can’t get inside the sealed (self-healing) cutting mark with a sponge alone. We use steel scrubbing wool to reopen the cutting marks to get all the dirt out. After that, we use a steel cutting board scraper and a sponge to finish the cleaning.

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 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
Ashahi – 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

Disadvantages

  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Stains
  • Requires more care and maintenance
  • Absorbs unwanted liquids
  • 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
  • Needs to be replaced you can’t restore it.

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
  • Needs a steel wire sponge to reopen the knife marks to clean*
  • *Steel wire sponge is only needed for the commercial-grade rubber
  • Not recommended for cutting cooked protein.

”I recommend the rubber board, we use 2 big white rubber cutting boards in the sushi restaurant but we saw a corner on one of them so that we know that one is for veggies and the other one for raw fish”


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 feets. There is an easy solution for this some people use a damp cleaning cloth and others use a 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 going all over the place so that you can work with more precision and reduce the chances of getting yourself cut.

Maintenance

Wooden board

For a wooden board, you need to oil it after you receive yours let is 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.

Plastic & rubber board

I will be fast with the flimsy and thin plastic boards, you replace them with a brand new one. However, the rubber cutting board with its self-healing properties and antibacterial materials you need to make sure to clean it properly. Reopen the knife marks after each use and wash it, but from time to time you need to have a big cleanup with diluted bleach (we use 60% water and 40% bleach). Reopen the sealed knife marks with a steel scrubbing wool wash it with soap and then use diluted bleach and let it stay overnight. Since the rubber won’t absorb any liquid you will kill most bacteria from the rubber surface. After that repeat the normal cleaning process of a steel scrubbing wool and clean it with warm water, soap, and a sponge. There is no other maintenance needed the rubber will serve you for many years.

“We bleach our rubber board every Saturday night in the restaurant kitchen, however, we are using the boards every day for 10+ hours a day”. ”You as a home cook will be fine by doing this every 6 months”. ”Our 60% water and 40% bleach solution might be too strong for home cooks so I recommend 80% water and 20% bleach, let it soak overnight and clean it thoroughly with soap and a lot of water”

You can leave your questions in the comment section below.

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