Wood cutting boards have long been a staple in professional kitchens.
But do chefs still use them today or have they been replaced by more modern alternatives?
The answer may surprise you. While it’s true that many restaurants and culinary schools now prefer to use synthetic cutting boards made from materials like plastic or bamboo, wood cutting boards still hold a special place in the hearts of chefs and home cooks alike.
One reason why wood-cutting boards remain popular is their natural beauty and warmth. There’s something undeniably appealing about the rich grain patterns and earthy tones of a well-crafted wooden board. Not only do these boards add an aesthetic element to food preparation, but they also provide a nostalgic nod to traditional cooking methods.
Types of Cutting Boards
- Plastic cutting boards, on the other hand, have gained popularity in recent years due to their practicality and durability. They are lightweight, easy to clean, and can be placed in a dishwasher for convenience. Plastic cutting boards are considered more hygienic than wooden ones because they do not absorb liquid or retain bacteria as easily.
- Bamboo cutting boards offer a unique combination of benefits from both wood and plastic boards. Made from a renewable resource, bamboo is an eco-friendly option that is also highly durable.
- Wood cutting boards are a classic choice for many home cooks. They have a natural beauty and warmth that can enhance any kitchen aesthetic. Wood cutting boards are known for their durability and ability to withstand heavy chopping and slicing. They are also gentler on knife blades, reducing the risk of dulling or damaging them.
- Other materials (bamboo, glass, composite, etc.) offer their own unique benefits and drawbacks. Bamboo cutting boards, as mentioned earlier, are eco-friendly and durable. They also have a natural resistance to bacteria growth, making them a hygienic choice for food preparation.
- Glass cutting boards are non-porous and easy to clean, making them an excellent option for preventing cross-contamination between different types of foods. However, they can be more prone to knife damage and may dull blades faster than other materials.
A brief comparison with wood boards
When it comes to cutting boards, the debate between wood and synthetic materials has been ongoing for years. Wood cutting boards are often preferred by chefs for several reasons. Firstly, wood is gentle on knife blades, reducing wear and tear over time. Unlike synthetic boards, wood also has natural antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria. This makes it a sanitary option for food preparation.
However, there are some downsides to using wood-cutting boards that should be considered. Wood can absorb moisture, which can lead to warping or cracking if not properly cared for. Additionally, cleaning wooden boards can be more challenging than their synthetic counterparts as they cannot be put in the dishwasher. However, with regular oiling and proper maintenance, these issues can be mitigated.
Benefits of Wood Cutting Boards
One of the most important factors in maintaining a sharp knife is having a knife-friendly surface to cut on. Contrary to popular belief, wood-cutting boards are actually the preferred choice for many professional chefs. The slight softness of wooden surfaces allows knives to dig into the material without damaging the blade, making it an ideal option for precision slicing and dicing.
Natural Antimicrobial Properties
Wood cutting boards have been a staple in kitchens for centuries, but what many people may not know is that they possess natural antimicrobial properties. Studies have shown that bacteria and other harmful pathogens actually die off faster on wooden surfaces compared to plastic or glass. This is because wood contains compounds such as tannins and phenols, which have been found to possess antimicrobial properties. These compounds work by inhibiting the growth and reproduction of bacteria, making wood a safer choice in the kitchen.
Aesthetics and Presentation
Furthermore, the presentation goes beyond just looks; it can also influence taste perception. Research suggests that the presentation of food can affect our expectations and subsequently alter how we perceive flavors. By employing wooden cutting boards as part of the plating process, chefs create an environment that is more connected to nature – an element known to enhance sensory experiences. With its warm and organic presence, wood can create an ambiance that complements the flavors on the plate and enhances both visual and gustatory enjoyment for diners.
Durability and Longevity
One of the factors that chefs take into consideration when choosing a cutting board is its durability and longevity. Wood cutting boards, particularly those made from hardwoods like maple or oak, are known for their ability to withstand heavy use over time. Unlike plastic cutting boards that can warp or develop deep grooves after only a few months, wooden boards have natural properties that make them more resistant to wear and tear. This means that chefs can confidently rely on their wood cutting boards for years without having to constantly replace them.
In addition to their durability and healing abilities, wood-cutting boards have proven themselves as reliable workhorses in professional kitchens due to their resistance against knife dulling. The fibrous nature of wood provides just enough give for the blade as it comes into contact with the surface, resulting in less pressure on both the board and the knife’s edge.
Using wood as a material for our cutting boards has some unexpected environmental benefits. Wood naturally contains antimicrobial properties that help kill bacteria, making it more hygienic than other materials such as plastic. Studies have shown that wooden surfaces are less likely to harbor antibiotic-resistant bacteria compared to plastic or glass surfaces. By choosing a wooden cutting board over other options not only are you making an eco-friendly choice but also promoting safer food preparation practices in your kitchen.
Chef’s Perspective : Do Chefs Use Wood Cutting Boards
Preference for wood-cutting boards
Wood-cutting boards are the preferred choice of many chefs for a multitude of reasons.
Firstly, wood is gentle on knife blades, preventing them from dulling quickly. Wood also has natural antibacterial properties, unlike plastic cutting boards which can harbor bacteria in their crevices. Wood is more forgiving when it comes to surface damage caused by knife cuts. Wood brings an aesthetic appeal and natural warmth to any kitchen space.
Specialized wood boards for specific ingredients
When it comes to cutting boards, wood is often the go-to choice for chefs around the world.
Take, for example, a board made from acacia wood. Acacia is known for its natural antibacterial properties, making it an ideal choice for cutting raw meat or fish.
For delicate ingredients like cheese or bread, a bamboo cutting board is unbeatable. Bamboo offers a softer surface compared to other woods, which helps prevent bruising or scraping delicate foods while providing a sturdy base for slicing.
If you’re looking to slice up fruits or vegetables with minimal mess and waste, consider investing in a maple wood cutting board. Maple has a tight grain structure that prevents knife marks from easily forming on the surface.
Maintenance and Care
When it comes to maintaining and caring for wood-cutting boards, there are a few key practices that can keep them in top shape for years to come.
- First and foremost, always wash your cutting board with warm water and mild soap immediately after each use.
- Regular oiling is essential for preserving the quality of the wood. Mineral oil is commonly recommended for this purpose as it seeps into the grain and helps prevent drying out or cracking.
- Lastly, avoid exposing your wood cutting board to extreme temperature changes or prolonged moisture exposure. Both these factors can warp or damage the board’s structure over time.
Wood cutting boards continue to be a popular choice among chefs for several reasons. They offer a natural and rustic aesthetic that adds warmth to any kitchen. Additionally, wood is gentle on knives, reducing the risk of dulling the blades. The self-healing properties of wood also make it less prone to harboring bacteria compared to plastic or glass boards. While there may be some concerns about sanitation, proper care, and maintenance can easily address these issues. Therefore, whether you are a chef or an avid home cook, investing in a high-quality wood-cutting board can enhance your culinary experience and elevate your dishes to the next level.