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Hasegawa at Messe Frankfurt Ambiente

Professional Grade Kitchen Wares

Visiting the Hasegawa booth at Ambiente Messe Frankfurt was a great experience, especially meeting President/CEO Toshi Hasegawa. The entire product line impressed me with its high quality, thoughtful and functional design, and patented features. Unfortunately, I didn’t capture any pictures as it was one of the last booths I visited, and the event was about to close. Nonetheless, hearing Toshi Hasegawa speak about their product lineup was truly fascinating, as it showcased his passion for their innovative offerings.

Note: Keep in mind that depending on where you buy the Hasegawa boards you might get Hasegawa boards without the Hasegawa branding on the boards. This does not mean you had a counterfeit as Hasegawa mainly sells the board without the logo domestically in Japan and for the Western retailers, all boards are branded with Hasegawa. If you import it from Japan you might get a board without Hasegawa branding on the board. (Hasegawa is still displayed on the packaging).

Parker Asahi Cutting Board vs Hasegawa Pro-Soft

During my visit, I discussed the Pro-Soft cutting board with Mr. Hasegawa, expressing my preference for it in professional settings especially in a Japanese restaurant preparing mainly sushi. However, for home use, I prefer the Parker Asahi cutting board due to its practicality for home usage. The Hasegawa board, designed for a pull cut, can hinder regular kitchen knife use by adding resistance to blade-to-board contact. In contrast, the Asahi board’s harder surface allows for both push and pull cuts without interference. This difference is crucial, as many retailers market the Hasegawa board without clarifying its specific design features, other than its dishwasher-safe property. Overall, while I appreciate the Hasegawa boards for professional settings, the Asahi board better suits my needs at home.

Parker Asahi Synthetic Rubber/Plastic Cutting Board

During discussions with Mr. Hasegawa, he did not attempt to defend or assert the superiority of either board. Instead, he suggested trying the Pro-Pe line, which combines the benefits of both softer and harder plastics for versatility in both pull and push cutting. Unfortunately, without knives available for testing at the Hasegawa booth, it’s challenging to determine which board would perform better compared to the Asahi Synthetic rubber board. This comparison is something I intend to explore further in a future evaluation of the Hasegawa Pro-Soft & Pro-Pe board versus the Asahi Synthetic Rubber board. (I currently only own the Hasegawa Pro-Soft & Parker Asahi boards).

Hasegawa Pro-Soft VS Hasegawa Pro-Pe

Both the Hasegawa Pro-Soft and Hasegawa Pro-Pe cutting boards share similar features, including a silver ion surface treatment for antibacterial properties, a dishwasher-safe wooden core for lighter weight, and textured surfaces for improved grip on food. However, the key difference lies in the type of plastic used. The Pro-Soft line features a softer plastic surface, ideal for high-quality Japanese knives and pull-cut techniques. On the other hand, the Pro-Pe board has a harder plastic surface, making it more suitable for general kitchen use and potentially addressing the limitations experienced with the Pro-Soft line. While the textured surface is great it makes it harder to clean and Hasegawa has a special sponge/board scraper for it.

Noteworthy Discoveries: Anti-Slip Mats

While the cutting boards initially caught my attention, the Anti-Slip mats truly impressed me. Despite previously overlooking the Hasegawa anti-slip product online, seeing the Hasegawa Anti-Slip mat in person convinced me of its exceptional gripping power and practicality, particularly for restaurant settings. Its waterproof, hygienic, and versatile design makes it indispensable in commercial kitchens, though it’s also suitable for home use despite its higher price point than typical non-slip mats.

Makisu (Sushi Mat)

The Hasegawa Makisu, or sushi mat, is another standout product, offering an innovative solution to common challenges encountered with traditional bamboo mats. Unlike bamboo mats requiring frequent replacement due to wear and tear, the non-stick embossed plastic construction of the Hasegawa sushi mat provides a durable and hygienic alternative. However, questions remain regarding its long-term durability especially in high-volume environments, and ease of cleaning in a restaurant environment. The product looks and feels well-built at the booth.

Final Thoughts on Hasegawa Products

My interaction with Mr. Hasegawa and hands-on experience with Hasegawa products showcased their capability, and their potential to address significant challenges faced by Japanese restaurants in Europe, such as black mold and bacteria growth. The color-coded sushi mats offer practical solutions, provided they prove durable in real-world use in a high-volume restaurant environment. Additionally, the plastic non-stick Hangiri spatula offers promising alternatives to traditional wooden Hangiri spatulas, minimizing maintenance and mold-related issues that many European Japanese restaurants suffer from. I don’t know how practical the plastic Hangiri would be as it loses the properties of the wooden Hangiri while solving the other and that is maintenance/black molds.

Recommendations

Overall, I highly recommend that European sushi and other restaurants consider integrating Hasegawa products into their operations. For home users, the cutting boards, anti-slip mats, turners (spatulas), and sushi mats are particularly noteworthy, offering practical solutions to common kitchen challenges. While some products are tailored more towards commercial settings, the quality and innovation evident in Hasegawa’s offerings suggest broader applicability and potential for widespread adoption.

Visit the Hasegawa official website for more information:
Hasegawa Corporation

Want to know more about my Visit at the Ambiente event: 
ChefPanko at Ambiente Frankfurt Germany

Plastic, Synthetic Rubber, Anti-Bacterial, Self Healing Claims?

Note: While both synthetic rubber and plastic are polymers, they serve different purposes and different properties. The term “rubber” is often used broadly to refer to both natural rubber and synthetic rubber, or materials like plastic with rubber-like properties. However, it’s essential to recognize the distinctions between synthetic rubber and plastic, particularly in their physical properties and applications such as cutting boards. Some manufacturers may utilize synthetic rubber or materials with rubber-like properties, while others may simply label their products as plastic or synthetic plastic in their marketing materials.

Antibacterial Properties:
Some rubber boards can prevent bacteria growth due to surface properties (Ionized Silver) or released substances. This doesn’t necessarily involve harmful chemicals. (You will often see the Ag+ logo/symbol in Asian markets like Japan, China, Thailand, etc on the Synthetic Rubber/Plastic cutting boards they sell). 

Others might opt to add these claims due to the following:
Surface Properties: The surface of some rubber products may be less porous and more resistant to bacterial adherence, making it more challenging for bacteria to establish and grow.
Moisture Resistance: Rubber materials can often be resistant to moisture, and since many bacteria thrive in damp conditions, this resistance can indirectly hinder bacterial growth.

Which terms they use and why depends on the manufacturer and the place the product is sold as each country has its regulations. In Japan, they can get an official certification by SIAA (The Society of International Sustaining Growth for Antimicrobial Articles). However, this certification is only viable in Japan. 

For example: 
Hasegawa Synthetic Rubber/Plastic Cutting Board: Anti-bacterial due to Ionized Silver particles on the cutting surface.
Parker Asahi Synthetic Rubber/Plastic Cutting Board:
 Bacteria and Mould Resistance no surface treatment. 

Self-healing Properties:
‘Self-healing’ is a marketing term. It means the material can fix itself, like the rejoining of polymer chains in synthetic rubber when cut. This might be triggered by heat, pressure, or other factors.

Chemical Reactivity:
Self-healing in rubber might involve the material’s building blocks sticking back together after a cut, possibly through a chemical reaction like polymerization.

Micro-particles and Food Safety:
The shedding of micro-particles from rubber/plastic or any food-contact material raises food safety concerns. Materials used in food preparation must meet safety standards to avoid introducing harmful substances. Manufacturers conduct tests for product safety.

Contact the manufacturers for specifics, as they conduct testing to support these claims.

While people aim to use a product for as long as possible, signs of material shedding indicate it’s time to replace the board.

Visit the Hasegawa official website for more information:
Hasegawa Corporation

Want to know more about my Visit at the Ambiente event: 
ChefPanko at Ambiente Frankfurt Germany

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ChefPanko

Hi, I'm ChefPanko, I have worked for multiple restaurants and have decided to share my experience with you guys. I will share recipes and techniques that I have learned, taken, and improved from the French, Japanese restaurants that I have worked for. I will also explore other cuisines with you guys.

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