Table of Contents
- Are wooden boards a good option for table service?
- Serving Food On Wooden Boards Is Now Becoming A Question Of Health And Safety
- How Do You Clean A Slate Cheese Board?
- To Clean Your Slate Cheese Board By Hand
- Is Slate Food Safe?
- 8-piece Nature Slate 8-piece Nature Slate Placemats Cup Coaster Mat Set for 8 People
- The worst offenders
- Slate plate revolution: Diners and chefs make plea for a return to real crockery
- Shape Created with Sketch. Top 10 restaurants in the UK from Yelp
- 3/10 3. Dinner By Heston Blumenthal, London
- 6/10 6. Hula Juice Bar and Gallery, Edinburgh
- 8/10 8. Honest Burgers, Soho, London
- 1/10 1. Dishoom Covent Garden, London
- 10/10 10. The Wolseley, London
- Construction Matters – Stone vs. Plastic vs. Wood vs. Bamboo Cutting Boards
- Cutting Board Recommendations
- Epicurean Bread Cutting Board (slate)
- We want plates: 25 of the worst serving decisions in history
- Disaster 1: The rules of gravity, as evidenced when planks, boards and similar flat-crockery shams and liquid meet. Cue meltdown.
- Disaster 2: Using glass to hold (hot) solids instead of liquids.
- Disaster 3: Bringing nature and the outdoors not just indoors but onto your table and in contact with your food for no sane or valuable reason.
- Disaster 4: When fashion and food collide, making fashion victims of us all.
- Disaster 5: The practice of insane, unappetising and quite frankly dangerous household upcycling.
- It’s now also possible to spend unnecessary money to recreate this awkwardness for your friends and family at home:
Are wooden boards a good option for table service?
The past few years restaurants have resorted to serving food on some unconventional surfaces, from shovels to frying pans to lunchboxes to buckets. Where did this trend begin? It’s likely that it started with serving food on wooden boards.
Many restaurants opt to ditch traditional plates in favor of wooden boards for serving many types of food – whether it be pizza, burgers or even slices of cake. And for every restaurant that follows this fad, there are dozens of people who ask the simple question: Why?
In fact, a humorous Twitter campaign called WeWantPlates arose last year to poke fun at places that serve food on strange surfaces and in odd containers.
Reasons for people shunning them are understandable. Wooden boards aren’t optimal for all types of food and aren’t as practical as standard plates. Can you imagine trying to eat spaghetti Bolognese off a chopping board?
Arguably, the whole point they exist is purely for their novelty and rustic style: harkening back to a simpler time when people never used fancy porcelain plates to eat their meals. But more often than not, wooden boards are berated too harshly, particularly for reasons that are in fact untrue.
For example: One argument many pro-plate diners use is that wooden boards are unhygienic. They argue that bacteria thrives inside small scuffs and cuts on the surface and that wood is harder to clean than harder surfaces.
But a number of studies have shown that assumption to be false. A famous study carried out at the University of California, Davis revealed that “ not recoverable from wooden surfaces in a short time after they were applied, unless very large numbers were used.”
“Although the bacteria that had disappeared from the wood surfaces were found alive inside the wood for some time after application, they evidently do not multiply, and they gradually die. They can be detected only by splitting or gouging the wood or by forcing water completely through from one surface to the other.”
In reality, there are plenty of pros as well as cons to using wooden boards as plates:
• Many people like wooden boards’ rustic style.
• They are perfectly hygienic.
• Wood is a good insulator, so it helps keep food warm.
• They are more durable than normal plates.
• Wood is biodegradable and renewable.
• Many people dislike being served food on wooden boards.
• They can’t be used to serve all types of food.
• Many wooden boards can’t be put in a dishwasher.
• They take up more storage space than traditional plates.
• They don’t have edges, so won’t catch bits of spilled food.
There’s no reason to avoid using wooden boards to serve certain types of food as long as they are well-maintained. Deep cuts and long-term wear and tear call for a replacement just like a chipped, cracked, or stained plate needs to be replaced.
And as long as they’re properly cleaned, wooden boards are completely safe to serve food on, just like any other dish. Staff should have a strong understanding of food hygiene and safety, which they can enhance by taking a suitable food hygiene course, testing their knowledge through a food hygiene quiz or learning from the good example set by others in the kitchen.
Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference. Many restaurants find wooden boards fit in with their rustic ambience and compliment the food, but plenty of others recognize that wooden boards simply won’t suit their style or menu.
Liz Burton is a content author at High Speed Training, a U.K.-based provider of online food safety training.
Serving Food On Wooden Boards Is Now Becoming A Question Of Health And Safety
According to the Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom, there is no strong evidence that says wooden chopping boards are less hygienic than other types of serveware if they are properly cleaned.
Gary Kennedy, a food and safety auditor in Sydney, Australia, told abc.net.au that many wooden serving boards are oiled and water resistant, but if someone repeatedly cuts at the wood with a knife the coating can become damaged. This is where problems with bacteria can occur, though very rarely. A study from the University of California stated, “…disease bacteria were not recoverable from wooden surfaces in a short time after they were applied, unless very large numbers were used. New plastic surfaces allowed the bacteria to persist, but were easily cleaned and disinfected.”
So the problems with the steakhouse in England were because of how the wooden boards were cleaned, not with the board itself. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends washing wooden serving platters with hot, soapy water or bleach.
As long as they are properly cleaned and sanitized, there is no health risk when it comes to eating food off a wooden board. It’s just like any other plate, but with a ~rustic aesthetic~ everyone can get down with.
Summer is the time of parties and barbecues, and I’m sure that most of you are having guests. How to serve food at a party so that it looked delicious and the display was eye-catching? Here are some food and cheese serving board ideas that you may use to serve appetizers and not only.
Wood serving boards are a timeless and cool idea to serve any kind of food. It can be a weathered wood board, a painted one, or a simple stained rustic one – they will look cool anyway! One more trendy idea is a rough wood slice, which will look very spectacular and make any food stand out. Take a wood slice and cover it with chalkboard paint, and you’ll have an opportunity to write down what you are serving.
a stained wooden board is a perfect idea to serve any kind and amount of food
colorful patterned food serving board is a nice piece for summer
wood slices covered with chalkboard paint will allow you to specify any kind of food you are serving
a weathered wood board is a cool rustic idea for serving food
a wood serving board for different types of sandwiches is a cute, modenr and a bit rustic idea
rough stained wood board will make any food look more attractive
such a rustic rough wood slice serving and cutting board is great for any party and looks spectacular
Marble faceted boards will make your serving very refined and chic. Terrazzo is one of the hottest decor trends now, so rocking a terrazzo board is a great idea. Geodes and crystals are also a hot trend, and if you want a super special food display, go for agate slice boards with a gilded edges – looks wow! Slate boards will fit a modern or rustic party.
a refined agate slice cheese board with a gilded edge will be a stunning idea
a terrazzo board is great idea for any food, and terrazzo decor is a super hot trend
black marble serving board will make any food stand out
boards of natural slate show off unique flaked edge, providing an earthy foundation for cheeses, charcuterie or appetizers
display your delicious desserts on agate and amethyst slice boards with a gilded edge
faceted marble and rosewood serving boards look moder, chic and edgy
finely cut slate boards for a cheese serving stand is a cool and unusual idea
natural fluorite crytal board is a unique and totally gorgeous idea for any food plus crystals are a hot trend
How Do You Clean A Slate Cheese Board?
Our serving boards, plates, platters and trivets are dishwasher safe, even under the sterilizing settings. Typical servingware cleaning products including dishwasher detergents will not harm our products. Other manufacturer’s slate products may not be dishwasher safe.
Unlike Slateplate, other slate products that has not been sealed with mineral oil may stain when oily or strongly acidic foods are served on it. For example, raw slate will become darkened in the location where a soft cheese is served on it. It is difficult to remove that stain or even hide it with later sealing. You will never see that staining with a Slateplate product.
To Clean Your Slate Cheese Board By Hand
Is Slate Food Safe?
We take great care and personal effort to ensure that our products are food safe. We ensure this through our choice of dense slate, how we manufacture, and how we seal the slate. The density is very important, as the more dense the slate, the less likely it will flake in your food, that combined with our manufacturing practices, we guarantee that our boards won’t flake. We also seal our product with food-safe mineral oil.
A Birmingham restaurant was fined this week for serving food on wooden platters described by environmental health officers as ‘unhygienic’. So should we think twice before using wooden serving boards instead of plates?
No strong evidence
Don’t throw out your wooden serving boards just yet. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) states that there is ‘no strong evidence’ to suggest a wooden serving board is any less hygienic than tableware made of ceramic or glass, providing it is cleaned properly after every use. It does recommend, however, that you replace a wooden serving board if it becomes damaged or if the surface becomes deeply scored from repeated cutting.
What about slate?
Slate serving boards have also been enjoying something of a moment on our dining tables. The FSA warns that germs may cling more readily to the surface of a slate serving platter – which can be more textured than the surface of a standard ceramic plate – but stresses that this will not be a problem if the slate is thoroughly cleaned after each use. It is possible to buy slate with a food-safe sealant applied. (For instance, the slate serveware from Just Slate is sealed with a food-safe acrylic coating).
MORE: THIS IS HOW LONG YOU CAN KEEP FOOD IN YOUR FREEZER
Golden rules for cleaning wooden boards
It’s important never to soak wooden tableware in water as this can cause the wood to split, and cracks can harbour bacteria and food residue. Instead, hand wash using hot, soapy water, taking care not to submerge the serving board completely. Rinse and dry the board well after washing using kitchen towel rather than a tea towel, which can harbour bacteria.
Apply a little oil to the surface of the wooden board every now and then to help preserve it and to discourage moisture from food from being drawn into the wood. It can be hard to find food-safe mineral oil these days – use either olive oil or a product like Eddingtons Wood Care Oil instead. Apply the oil to a kitchen towel and rub over the board. You should only oil a wooden serving board when it is completely dry so avoid doing this straight after washing it.
The same rules can be applied to other wooden tableware such as salad bowls or salad servers.
MORE: HAVE YOU BEEN CUTTING YOUR CHEESE WRONG?
Top tips for cleaning slate serveware
Most slate serving board manufacturers recommend wiping slate boards with hot, soapy water after every use. Pay particular attention to areas where the surface of the board is rougher as this is where germs are more likely to gather. You can use an anti-bacterial spray if you wish. As slate boards often have a foam backing or rubber feet to protect tabletops, they shouldn’t be submerged in water. If yours is finished with a food-safe sealant (check with the manufacturer if in doubt), there’s no need to oil the slate.
However, it is possible to find untreated slate serving platters without any kind of backing which can be run through the dishwasher, for example, The Derwent Slate Plate Company says that their slate is dishwasher-safe. You will need to oil the slate serving board once its dry with olive oil in the same way that you would treat a wooden board.
8-piece Nature Slate 8-piece Nature Slate Placemats Cup Coaster Mat Set for 8 People
Free Express 2-6 days delivery to the following EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK
Flat shipping rate to Switzerland and Norway.
ArtDecorLux, simple and high quality ceramic tableware that gives different lifestyle the same experience of pureness. Pick one lovely and practical tableware for both your family and friends! Love life, start from ArtDecorLux!
ArtDecorLux 8-piece Nature Slate Placemats Cup Coaster Mat Set
Slate board comes pre-coated, and may be treated with food-grade mineral oil before/after each use to maintain coating. Clean after each use by wiping with warm, soapy water and a non-abrasive cloth.
8 Pack Slate Coasters – This set including 8 pieces 4 x 4 inches square coasters can comfortably accommodate a cup or mug. The slate coaster set is crafted with natural black slate are really textured and look super-class, some of the edges are a little rough, each piece has its own unique shape and character, which adds to the great look. Tip- lightly oil them before use.
Complements Any Style of Decor- These cool and unique slate cheese board match with pretty much any surface imaginable. Protect tables from moisture and scratches, add a contemporary feel to the dinner table. The slate cheese board is also perfect for a Valentine’s Day gift, hostess gift, Christmas, housewarming gifts, an anniversary, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, a Bridal Shower, Gifts for sister, Kitchen gift.
Easy to Clean – Slate cheese boards with non-slip soft pads underneath to assist them to be placed on the table in a balanced manner and to prevent scratching. Easy to maintain and clean up, simply wipe clean with a damp cloth, good for reusing, environmentally friendly and healthy. Wash slate carefully and thoroughly with soapy water before using in food service. Notice: The slate plate set is unsuitable for dishwasher use.
Multi-Functional Design – Serve hot and cold foods, gourmet cheeses, vegetables, meats, olives, crackers, appetizers, dried fruits, desserts, and pastries. Use at home or in restaurants and cafes. These unique slate plate also can even be written on with chalk, serving platters, art or message boards, and more.
Friendly Customer Service – If you receive any broken or chipped items, please kindly feel free to contact us. We promise you will have no loss.
Points to note:
1. Do not scratch with sharp objects to avoid damage to the surface texture.
2. Not dishwasher or oven safe.
3. Clean after each use by wiping with warm, soapy water and a non-abrasive cloth.
4. The food can be in direct contact with the slate mat, and the surface texture.
Why would you serve chips inside a miniature shopping trolley? To disguise a portion that would fit inside a cigarette packet? Because nothing says “tasty” like a tiny recreation of a freshers’ week piss-up? Or is it because no one’s been kind enough to say: “Dude! You work in a greasy spoon!”?
These are the questions that, since March, Ross McGinnes has been asking via his We Want Plates Twitter account. To rail against pretentious restaurants’ “gastropub style-over-content nonsense”, he tweets photographs – largely submitted by his followers – of their more baffling presentation choices. Think casseroles served in jars, desserts that have been squished into plant pots, and fry-ups dolloped atop garden shovels. All of these are actual examples.
“Restaurants are trying to stand out,” sighs McGinnes, “but they’re just making their customers look like infantilised idiots while eating.” His online lampooning has helped him to nigh-on 95,000 social media followers, and since We Want Plates became a bit of an “internet thing”, he’s done TV appearances and – such is the way of the web – had his content repurposed by all the top clickbait purveyors. He can now even get a meal served to his liking in Hebden Bridge – his home town – on the basis of his face alone. “I ordered a burger in a local pub a few weeks ago and the barman went: ‘I suppose you want that on a plate, yeah?’” he chuckles. “When I looked confused, he said: ‘I follow you on Twitter.’”
So passionate are the We Want Plates devotees that even McGinnes has felt their rage. “I get complaints,” he says. “You can’t win. If I tweet a picture and don’t name the restaurant it’s, ‘NAME AND SHAME!’ If I do, it’s ‘STOP GIVING THEM FREE ADVERTISING, YOU SELL-OUT!’ Every day I get people unfollowing – they still love the account – the pics just annoy them too much.”
We Want Plates (@WeWantPlates)
Fake fryer and chopping board sent back to the kitchen in exchange for a nice, white plate. Good work, @gemmasomerset pic.twitter.com/fPFuHpPOyM
September 9, 2015
In recent weeks, things have really taken off. In July, McGinnes took a spot of culinary direct-action and began requesting a plate whenever he was served a meal whose dish seemed to hail from a garden centre. The resultant tweets proved so popular that his Twitter devotees followed suit and We Want Plates now features “before” and “after” photos of members of the public transferring their meals to china. Suddenly, it’s gone from being jokey internet satire to real-life protest.
“I hope we’ll make a difference,” says David Martyn, a We Want Plates follower who was featured on the site after asking a Clifton pub to provide him with a normal serving vessel for his portion of fish and chips – rather than the proffered roof tile. “How are you supposed to eat fish and chips off a slate? It’s presentation over practicality. And surely it’s old hat by now?”
The residents of Glasgow think so. “My prediction is that plates are going to be the hip new thing for 2016,” jokes Ross Swanson: duty manager of the Griffin – a pub so inspired by McGinnes’s tweets that it advertises its meals via a sandwich-board promising “actual plates”. In Windsor, one restaurant even went so far as to restyle a dish after We Want Plates’ photos showed their slate-based serving of ice-cream, leading to a tablecloth swimming in melted dairy. “We were delighted that someone pointed it out to us,” smiles Conrad Byrne, general manager of the Fox and Hounds. “We put the dessert on a plate that very afternoon and it’s changed how we look at our dishes. Now we don’t just think purely about the visuals, we’re asking: ‘How will the customer see this?’”
‘My prediction is that plates are going to be the hip new thing for 2016’ … says Ross Swanson of the Griffin pub in Glasgow. Photograph: @rugs77
Not all restaurateurs are as grateful for the attention, though. “Absolutely couldn’t give a fuck about We Want Plates,” tweeted Great British Menu contestant Michael O’Hare in response to a follower’s suggestion that serving langoustine tartare inside a giant plastic egg may have left him off McGinnes’s Christmas-card list. Michelin-starred chef Andrew Pern complained about “the sad We Want Plates muppets who need to get a life (or a slate)” – perhaps not surprising, given their comments on his policy of serving bread rolls inside a flat cap. And when we contacted Seth Levine, the executive chef of Hotel Chantelle who likes to dangle mini slivers of jamon from a washing line, he was unfazed by the fact that he’d recently been mocked by Evening Standard food critic Grace Dent – while heavily name-checking We Want Plates. “I’d never in a million years even contemplate changing my style because there’s a small group of people who want to eat off a white china plate,” he says. “It’s fun to upgrade dishes a bit. I ate in a restaurant the other night where something was served to me on burning wood and I thought it was incredible.”
On occasion there’s something to be said for a restaurant adding a fun bit of flair to a dish’s presentation (to quote McGinnes: “There’s no need to round up a group of local villagers and head for the gastropub with burning pitchforks”). But salads served on ping-pong bats? Bread rolls stuffed into zebra-skin handbags? Not clever – just irritating. Plus, you know what’s going to happen in the coming months? Celebrity chef Tom Aikens is planning to open a Dubai-based restaurant called Pots, Pans & Boards. Its concept? Every dish will be served in a pot. Or a pan. Or something else – you can probably guess what.
Please? Get the pitchforks.
The worst offenders
Thought mini shopping trolleys were bad? You haven’t seen the half of it …
1. The upside-down umbrella. “The end of the world is nigh,” says McGinnes of this attempt to use an upended rain shield as a canapé dish. Presumably listed on the menu as, “Singin’ in the Rain Mishap”.
Andy Hayler (@wyahaw)
One for you @WeWantPlates pic.twitter.com/Ro2zhHf4pc
August 13, 2015
2. The goldfish in a glass. How to really set off a prawn cocktail? Balance it atop a glass containing a live goldfish. It’s a bit like a barbaric fairground game, except that nobody wins.
Ali Millard (@millyandpip)
One for @WeWantPlates Here’s a friends prawn cocktail in Croatia served on top of a LIVE goldfish! pic.twitter.com/pRwniJdwMf
June 22, 2015
3. The beef wellington on barbed wire. What is this? An attempt to serve a meal as though it’s been caught halfway through breaking into a scrapyard? “COMES WITH FREE TETANUS SHOT,” comments McGinnes. Almost as safe as this rusty old saw.
Astrid Schreuders (@AstridsTaste)
Ha ha n stel Britten in shock door mijn tweet met prikkeldraad-amuse @RestaurantZarzo. Niks gewend daar zeker?! 😊 pic.twitter.com/EQpF9qvYy3
April 26, 2015
4. The fake shoe. A mini tower of bread rolls balanced on a fake metal kitten heel. Because … because … nope, no idea. Trainers and boots also feature a lot.
Slate plate revolution: Diners and chefs make plea for a return to real crockery
It’s the culinary equivalent of nails down a blackboard, but the slate plate revolution that swept across the country’s leaving diners in fear of their noise-inducing cutlery has taken a worrying turn.
From sourdough served in slippers, and shovels of barbecue ribs, to fries served in a miniature shopping trolley, over-creative chefs and overreaching restaurateurs are turning their backs on the traditional plate in favour of far less conventional serving suggestions.
The trend has cascaded from high-end restaurants, such as René Redzepi’s Noma in Copenhagen (a salad of radishes in a flowerpot) to gastropubs and restaurants across Britain. Where once a gastropub would have been happy with a steak served on slate or chopping board, now full Sunday roasts are served on driftwood boards with no thought to the practicality or the gravy, as chefs bid to outdo each other in the outlandish dishware stakes.
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Shape Created with Sketch. Top 10 restaurants in the UK from Yelp
Show all 10 left Created with Sketch. right Created with Sketch.
3/10 3. Dinner By Heston Blumenthal, London
6/10 6. Hula Juice Bar and Gallery, Edinburgh
8/10 8. Honest Burgers, Soho, London
1/10 1. Dishoom Covent Garden, London
10/10 10. The Wolseley, London
The Star Inn the City, for example, on the banks of the river Ouse in York, now serves afternoon tea in a flat cap, while in Leeds, The Botanist serves its food in toy wheelbarrows and watering cans
According to Amanda Afiya, editor of The Caterer, restaurateurs first started getting confused in this way in the 1990s with the rise of the “accent plate”, as each course was served on different styles of plate. She said: “We saw glass or coloured plates, square and oblong ones. It was a chance to get away from the mundane round plates of old, but they rarely improved on the original. And of course, more recently, everyone started going crazy with slate.”
“I just think it’s a trend that has got a bit out of control,” says Stefan Chomka, editor of Restaurant magazine. “At first, it was to add a bit of theatre and fun… give customers something other than a white, round plate, but now it’s gotten a bit out of hand. It’s form over function.”
Diners have noticed too, with a Twitter page called @WeWantPlates attracting more than 16,000 followers posting pictures and sharing stories of waiters struggling with unwieldy cheese platters, sharing boards and, of course, steaks on slate. The worst offenders include beer in plastic milk bottles, bangers and mash in a wine glass, and ice cream served in a toothpaste tube.
Chomka has an excellent example of his own to add. “I was at a pub chain the other day and ordered chicken in a basket. It came in an actual hamper. It was impossible to eat or get my fork into the chicken. Slates make that horrible noise like nails on a blackboard. the juices go everywhere. There are also hygiene issues. It is meant to be fun, but it becomes tedious when you can’t eat what you ordered.”
As yet, few others seem to have raised the issue of hygiene, though one restaurant manager did complain that “poncey driftwood boards cannot be put through a dishwasher”. Critical disdain and social media ire seem unlikely to hold back the charge of the ill-suited tableware though; Nisbets catering company in London says it sold out of wooden boards in January and sales are 10 times higher than a year ago. Forget BYOB curry restaurants, this could be the year of the BYOP gastropub.
We’ll sort through these construction options and help you to select the best varieties that fit your needs and budget.
Construction Matters – Stone vs. Plastic vs. Wood vs. Bamboo Cutting Boards
Why? Just why? Why would anyone be willing to sacrifice their set of sharp knives by cutting into a STONE? It’s a STONE. Folks, these were designed to roll pastries out on (the stone is cooler, and thus less sticking happens), not to cut on!
Marble or glass also make excellent materials to set pans on to keep them from scorching a countertop, but do you really want to use a chunk as a cutting board? Ever?
Not so much. Plus, stone is heavy.
Please, don’t! I cringe just looking at this photo. Like fingernails down a chalkboard…
That being said, I’m the type that dies a little bit inside every time I witness my sister-in-law cutting something up on a plate with a “good” knife.
Glass/Stone Pros & Cons
Although it is very popular as an alternative to wooden cutting boards, and is very green since it rapidly replenishes itself (it’s actually a grass – not a tree), I can’t really recommend a product made with bamboo.
This is a very hard material that can cause the edge of your knife to literally “fold over” in the case of cheaper, softer steels. And due to the high silica (basically sand) content, it can rapidly dull even the harder alloys.
Besides the hardness of the bamboo itself, the loads of glue that manufacturers use to construct these boards will murder your blades’ edges, and rapidly dull even the hardest Japanese kitchen knife.
Makes a great serving tray. As far as a butcher block goes? Not so much.
However, bamboo cutting boards can make excellent serving and cheese trays. And by all means, these could be used to cut bread or cheese on. Or, perhaps in cases where having (and keeping) a sharp knife is not all that important (i.e. not for kitchen food prep).
Extra-Large Bamboo Cutting Board available on Amazon
Bamboo Pros & Cons
Composite boards are made of variety of substances, like recycled and compressed cardboard, paper, and sustainably harvested wood fiber, and include those made in the USA by the Epicurean Co.
The quality and usability of these vary from very good for the thicker, heavier ones to not so good for the thinner, lighter versions.
I’m not convinced that the heavier, NSF-approved wood fiber versions are any better for your knives than glass – the ones I’ve used offer up a loud clacking noise similar to cutting on a plate when they’re in use, and I suspect the resins binding the fibers together are very hard.
The lighter cardboard/paper examples tend to be flimsy, and they’re too light to stay in place without significant workarounds. There have been some flaking issues with these in the past, and reports of lingering off-odors with most of the products as well – some report that this issue starts as soon as you open the package and persists with use, while others say the smell goes away after washing.
I suspect the flaking and odor issues vary between batches and I’ve not seen a report of either of these problems in the last several years, which leads me to believe that Epicurean may have fixed some of their manufacturing issues.
I’ll be reviewing some of the more commonly available products – stay tuned!
Epicurean NSF Wood Fiber Based Cutting Board available on Amazon
Composite Pros & Cons
A number of you might opt to go with plastic boards, as this provides many more alternatives in terms of colors and styles. Moreover, plastic usually weighs significantly less than a comparably sized wooden board. However, plastic boards tend to discolor, and they have a propensity to stain.
Moreover, plastic chopping boards tend to be a little harder on your kitchen knives than other materials. Not enough for me to advise you against purchasing one or two, but this is something that you should take into account before making them your primary boards.
Unless you need a product that can serve double duty as a hot plate, I would definitely go with plastic long before I’d choose composite. Many people keep one or two around exclusively for slicing up raw proteins.
Enviroboard 100% Microwaveable Sterilization Antibacterial Cutting Board Set
When you slice against these boards while chopping up your food, you are making grooves in the plastic, which allow liquids to permeate and discolor the surface. Moreover, these grooves can harbor bacteria.
Not long ago, I tossed out a number of my older plastic chopping boards, as they were appearing a little bit tattered despite a good overnight soaking in bleach.
However, I have been eyeballing the Enviroboard set pictured above as it looks like it does a pretty good job of allowing complete removal of bacteria. And the three colors allow you to quickly identify which one you generally use for meat, and which you reserve for veggies, helpful in the effort to prevent cross-contamination.
Plastic Pros & Cons
Rubber boards are gaining popularity – particularly in professional restaurants. They are said to offer identical edge retention assistance to wood blocks, as well as possessing comparable self-repairing capabilities.
Based on my own non-scientific assessment, they do tend to degrade the sharpness of my knives a little faster.
By how much? I can’t really say. Perhaps it’s about 1.5x as fast as a comparable wood unit, but I never really measured it, and unfortunately have no way of actually testing this.
However, one of the key benefits of the rubberized construction is the fact that they do not hold germs or wetness. Also, they are able to tolerate most harsh cleaning agents and can handle anything a dishwasher can throw at them – heck, take them to the car wash if you want to!
Rubber cutting boards are very thickly constructed sturdy rubber mats that are quite hefty, and for that reason they will not slide around on your counters.
Sani-Tuff 12 x 18 x 3/4″ Rubber Board found on Amazon
They can be quite pricey and often cost as much as the well-built wooden models, but I’ve found the Sani-Tuff line to be quite reasonable – check out our complete review.
Rubber-based products should be considered a top candidate for a kitchen that deals with a lot of protein, and where you would like to have virtually no chance of staining your boards.
I really like the rubber products, and started to use them exclusively for my protein prepping tasks after I threw out my aforementioned plastic versions.
These are available in a variety of sizes, usually with a 1/2-inch and 1-inch thickness available for any given dimension. I prefer the thicker ones as these products can actually be sanded down and resurfaced, and I like to buy my kitchen equipment for the long haul.
Rubber Pros & Cons
Wooden cutting boards, in my opinion, are about the best that you can find. The idea that they are less hygienic than plastic versions is a fallacy, as a UC Davis study has shown.
Whereas bacteria sit on top of a plastic surface and may find their way into cuts and scratches, and thus may remain hidden and ready to infiltrate your food the next time the surface is in use, a wooden product tends to “suck” the bacteria down into its depths, where they die of dehydration. This is especially true if your board is well cared for.
“If a sharp knife is used to cut into the work surfaces after used plastic or wood has been contaminated with bacteria and cleaned manually, more bacteria are recovered from a used plastic surface than from a used wood surface.” – UC Davis Study
John Boos Reversible End Grain Maple Chopping Block, 20 by 15 by 2.25-Inch
Wooden butcher boards are also very good for your knives’ edges, and allow you to maintain sharpness for the maximum amount of time. Moreover, they offer a visual and tactile appeal that plastic can’t match.
However, there are construction differences between models and makers that you should be aware of, so I’ve also written a separate article on how to select the best wooden cutting board.
Wood Pros & Cons
Besides the construction material, size and shape also affect how much you’ll enjoy using your cutting boards.
Some folks like to have several different sizes for different tasks, or they utilize one as their “protein only” slicing area in order to keep their main work surface a little more sanitized, to avoid cross-contamination.
However, with proper sanitation methods, you can use the same product for a variety of tasks.
Butcher blocks are available in a variety sizes – from those with 20 to 30 inches of work space that stand on their own legs or base cabinets, to 12- to 20-inch units that sit flat or on small knobs on your work surface, to diminutive examples that are designed for easy transport with one hand.
A smaller “always on the counter” example such as this John Boos 9-Inch model makes a lot of sense for everyday use.
If you prefer the type that sits on your counter, you may want to add your sink size into the equation. Ideally, you should be able to fit about 1/3 to 1/2 of it, in its most skinny orientation, into your sink to allow for easy cleanup and scrubbing.
Size is not a real deal breaker if you would like a larger one – simply clean it in place rather than submerging it in the sink, according to our recommended directions.
Again, if you want a more portable board, you may want to consider one that is not as thick, in order to reduce the weight. However, a thicker board will give you a more stable platform – especially if the board sits on feet or knobs – and also allows for future resurfacing, in the case of heirloom quality wooden examples.
As alluded to earlier, thinner versions have the very annoying habit of sliding all over the place, necessitating the use of towels, rubber mats, and other devices in order secure them to your countertop – and this is not ideal.
Catskill Craftsmen 14-Inch Round Slab with Feet
If you’re looking for something a little bigger than the 9-inch example in the last section, I’d recommend the Catskill 14-inch model shown above for everyday countertop use.
It’s small enough (just barely) to fit in the sink, features feet that allow equalization of air flow (helping to prevent cracks and warping), and its uncommon shape adds visual interest to your kitchen’s work space.
Moreover, its thick end grain construction minimizes abuse to your knife edges, and stabilizes the wood.
In the Groove (or Not)
One other thing that you may want to consider when researching which is the best cutting board that will fit your needs is whether or not you would like a juice groove.
These are grooves that run around the perimeter of the surface in order to catch liquids that you might like to reserve, usually after the food has been cooked. These are actually termed “carving boards” but they can be used for slicing raw ingredients as well – for example, they can be nice to use if you’re cutting a juicy pineapple and want to reserve the flavorful liquid that seeps out as you carve.
The John Boos Au Jus 18-by-24-Inch Maple Cutting Board features a nice deep groove, perfect for collecting juices.
If you decide you’d like a model with a groove, be sure to get one with a deep well that can collect as much of the liquid as possible. Many of the cheaper products in this category have very shallow cutouts, and their use for this purpose is very limited.
Personally, I don’t use a grooved board for my normal slicing and dicing duties, but I do have a carving board on hand for slicing roasts, hams, and the occasional turkey.
Cutting Board Recommendations
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably looking for a few more recommendations in order to begin your research. I’ll be reviewing some specific models in upcoming posts.
In the meantime… Cook, Eat, Live Well, and Prosper.
Epicurean Bread Cutting Board (slate)
Epicurean Bread Cutting Board
The unique groove design of the Epicurean Bread Board will catch and contain all crumbs, leaving your counter or table top clean.
Dual sided: Grooved on one side, smooth on the other.
Available in 2 colors: Slate with Natural grooves (this page) or Natural with Slate grooves (, or scroll to bottom of page)
Dimensions: 18-Inch by 10-Inch; 3/8-Inch thick
- Made In The USA – Epicurean cutting surfaces are exclusively manufactured in the USA.
- Knife Friendly – Cutting on Epicurean cutting boards will not dull your knife so you will sharpen less.<
- Forest Stewardship Council Certified – Epicurean’s Natural, Slate, and RC100 materials are all certified by the FSC.
- Heat Resistant – Epicurean wood fiber cutting boards are heat resistant up to 350°F / 176°C, so you can use the surface as a trivet without leaving a blemish. (Not microwave safe; should not be used as cookware.)
- National Sanitary Foundation Certified – Certified by the NSF, you can be sure that your non-porous Epicurean cutting board will be easy to clean and will not harbor bacteria.
- Dishwasher Safe – Unlike wood and bamboo cutting boards, all epicurean wood fiber cutting boards are designed to fit in the dishwasher or be washed by hand in the sink with hot soapy water.
Epicurean cutting surfaces are a practical and distinctive improvement from poly, glass, and wood cutting boards. They have all the best qualities and none of the bad in one highly functional surface. Epicurean cutting surfaces can be used on both sides and are intended to be used every day for improved food preparation. Every design is thoughtfully detailed for functionality in use, clean-up and storage. With its exclusive cutting surface material which doesn’t dull knives, and the superior hygienic properties, Epicurean is considered the best food preparation and cutting surface available today.
Epicurean understands the relationship between the products we manufacture and the environment we all live in. By purchasing Epicurean products you are making a consumer statement and showing your commitment to green products and green business practices. They are dedicated to creating long lasting products that are manufactured with sustainable manufacturing practices and made from sustainable materials.
*Order $75 or More, & Shipping is Free! (applies to lower 48 States) *Order $75 or More, & Shipping is Free! (applies to lower 48 States)
You’re not really going to serve that Spiced Carrot Salad with Blood Orange, Watercress, Avacado, Sunflower Seeds and Lemon Yogurt dish on a plain white plate… are you? We didn’t think so. If you want your colors to pop, if you want to bring white back into your palette and tease your customer’s palate, or if you want to add a unique natural modern touch to your dishes, then you’re ready for Slateplate. Sure, not everything is going to look perfect on deep, lustrous black slate… but most things do…
There are many benefits to using our restaurant plates in your establishment beyond the enhanced artistic appeal they provide. Unlike many other unique or eclectic dinnerware offerings, Slateplates are easy to clean and commercial dishwasher safe. They also compliment and can breathe new life into your existing tableware.
Also, unlike other slate products on the market, our high quality restaurant plates have clear acrylic feet to both protect your surfaces and raise them up so your waitstaff and food runners can lift them off the table. Others provide cork feet you put on yourself which are not dishwasher safe.
Slateplates are also highly durable to stand up to your back of house. They essentially have the same material properties as ceramic plates, after all they are a rock, so they don’t break easily. We also rigorously finish them and seal them with mineral oil so there should be little-to-no chipping.
Lastly, we can custom cut sizes for you if you have something specific in mind and we can also laser etch your logo in them to provide yet another level of customization, like these below.
What do we do special for our Chefs and Restaurants? We provide discounted wholesale pricing, we also offer custom logo engraving for only $5 extra per plate for large orders.
When you are ready to purchase, simply contact us and we will provide you with a custom quote. In a rush? Simply scroll below and take a look at our collection.
We’ll take care of all of that for you, just let us know what you want to order and we will provide you with a simple, complete quote. And remember…
We want plates: 25 of the worst serving decisions in history
Friday, May 13th, 2016 by Amelia Frenkel Tapas in teacups; oozing, deconstructed desserts on slate tiles; sidedishes trapped in awkward receptacles – the public has had enough! Calls are being made on social media to bring back the humble, purpose-built ceramic. We want plates!
Covering everything from trends that need to be retired (dank burger board, anyone?) to props that have no place on a table (yes, even swords), Twitter account @wewantplates is on the “crusade against serving food on bits of wood and roof slates, jam-jar drinks and chips in mugs”. We categorised some of the worst dining disasters.
Disaster 1: The rules of gravity, as evidenced when planks, boards and similar flat-crockery shams and liquid meet. Cue meltdown.
Oh FFS… @WeWantPlates pic.twitter.com/e3K05zSknI
— Tom Callow (@au_tom_otive) May 11, 2016
Valiant attempt at a chip flood-barrier, but gutterless planks spell one thing: sauce woe. (Pic: @eugenehenry84) pic.twitter.com/AexrwjZp1s — We Want Plates (@WeWantPlates) February 3, 2016
Centuries of plate-smashing catches up with Greece as crockery shortage leads to tzatziki/board woe.
(Pic: @kewgreen) pic.twitter.com/WeY2QH84DD
— We Want Plates (@WeWantPlates) October 3, 2015
If only someone would invent a round, ceramic vessel with a lip to prevent custard spillage. (Pic: @stakgeorge) pic.twitter.com/mQiuazdgD6 — We Want Plates (@WeWantPlates) January 23, 2016
If you’re off to @thebeaufortbath for dinner, be warned: things could get messy.
(Pic: @c_johnston372) pic.twitter.com/NoxjxWCVoZ
— We Want Plates (@WeWantPlates) March 15, 2016
Disaster 2: Using glass to hold (hot) solids instead of liquids.
“Your steak won’t be long, we’re still trying to force it into a wine bottle.” Brunswick, [email protected] pic.twitter.com/DelIRTsKze — Joe Lockhart (@JoeyL14) October 31, 2015
A reminder to all chefs during #BritishSausageWeek: sausage and mash does not belong in a glass. (Pic: @mickmcavoy) pic.twitter.com/nEr7zJ719m — We Want Plates (@WeWantPlates) November 4, 2015
You can’t go wrong with a classic Shepherd’s Pie. Unless you’re the Old George Inn, South Cerney. (Pic: @headcovers) pic.twitter.com/eNp4qLS1ou — We Want Plates (@WeWantPlates) January 24, 2016
Disaster 3: Bringing nature and the outdoors not just indoors but onto your table and in contact with your food for no sane or valuable reason.
Barcelona: Catalonia’s capital of gastronomy, where they stick your breakfast on a shovel. (Pic: @garethlangston) pic.twitter.com/RtMJHFlCjG — We Want Plates (@WeWantPlates) February 10, 2016
Disaster 4: When fashion and food collide, making fashion victims of us all.
“Chef, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have arrived, they’ve ordered the tempura shoe to share.”
(Pic: @eeketht) pic.twitter.com/8d0NCWhrSX
— We Want Plates (@WeWantPlates) March 28, 2016
“What’s the soup of the day?”
“Cream of wild mushroom, with a hint of insole and corn plaster.”
(Pic: @simonraess) pic.twitter.com/ChaLTrcV0j
— We Want Plates (@WeWantPlates) January 30, 2016
Zaza Restaurant, Panama
(Pic: @StuartHelmer) pic.twitter.com/ghKL63jlNT
— We Want Plates (@WeWantPlates) November 21, 2015
“A boot, chef?”
“OK, we can charge more.”
(Pic: @CherryYoghurt77) pic.twitter.com/NZkWHWmx8V
— We Want Plates (@WeWantPlates) October 28, 2015
@WeWantPlates Chicken croquettes at Jaleo in Washington D.C. pic.twitter.com/KSC7gCTw6j
— Ben Harris-Roxas (@ben_hr) May 13, 2016
Disaster 5: The practice of insane, unappetising and quite frankly dangerous household upcycling.
— We Want Plates (@WeWantPlates) March 20, 2016
Skate on a skateboard: dangerous AND unappetizing @hotelchantelle @WeWantPlates (pic by ImaYesFa N., Yelp) pic.twitter.com/IKxSUp1JeG
— Eva (@thisiskis) December 3, 2015
Chicken fingers in a skull and a seashell of beans, coinciding with the bottom of a barrel.
(Pic: @jonnybadclobber) pic.twitter.com/NUUQ3236Yl
— We Want Plates (@WeWantPlates) February 7, 2016
“And can I have it on a plate, please?”
(Pic: @BethFad91) pic.twitter.com/ZbbBBKoJUu
— We Want Plates (@WeWantPlates) October 12, 2015
[email protected] Here’s the pork medallion dinner I had in Havana recently, served in a novelty urinal: pic.twitter.com/nTBZ68WiNI
— FuzzyWuzzy (@FuzzyWuzzyTO) April 29, 2015
It’s now also possible to spend unnecessary money to recreate this awkwardness for your friends and family at home:
Are you worried your friends don’t think you’re enough of a tosser? I think I’ve found the answer pic.twitter.com/QDa0VAtho7
— Jess Brammar (@jessbrammar) December 30, 2015
Experienced your own unruly restaurant utensils? Share your stories with us on Twitter @Eat_Out. In fact, we think British comedy writer and actor John Finnimore sums it up pretty well: Put it on a plate!