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February 3, 2013

Experts' Expert: Richard Blais ("Top Chef") on cutting boards


Rima Suqi went shopping for cutting boards with Blais — who won "Top Chef: All Stars" in 2010 — and learned a thing or three.

Below, excerpts from her January 30, 2013 New York Times story.

Mr. Blais, who lives in Atlanta, is the chef and owner of the Spence and HD1 there, as well as the Flip Burger Boutiques in Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama, and he has fairly strong opinions about chopping blocks in general. As kitchen tools, he said, they are "invaluable and often neglected," because many people spend money on showcase items like knives instead.

"You date knives, but marry cutting boards," he quipped recently while in Manhattan on a whirlwind shopping expedition for the latter.

Professionally, Mr. Blais prefers heavy wooden boards because "they don’t slide around," he said.

"And I like the way knives feel on them: I cut cleaner and chop better," he said. For seafood, however, he uses rubber boards by Asahi because "fish do have the odor of the sea," he said. "So I think something a little less porous is better."

He… liked Joseph Joseph's colored Cut & Carve boards [top], because "a lot of larger kitchens use colored cutting boards for specific food items: red is for red meat, yellow is for poultry, green is for produce and blue is for seafood."

"For the health inspector inside everyone, or someone worried about cross-contamination, it's a good way to stay clean and sanitized," he said.

February 3, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink


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Hmmm, ya got me thinking. I use a plastic board for meat, (which I wash every time with antibacterial soap before running through the dishwasher) and a bamboo board for produce, (which I usually line with a frequently changed paper towel before chopping). I rinse the board, but don't always use soap. I read recently though, that produce is more likely to be contaminated than meat, so I think I may need a different approach. I wash hands and knives with antibacterial soap (although I'm starting to have second thoughts about that) and dry them with paper towels. I know, I know, but they go into the compost bin and I think dish towels are "icky". I also buy sponges in bulk and change them often.

Posted by: tamra | Feb 3, 2013 3:41:41 AM

I use a Messermeister as my ain cutting board, but I place the flexible cutting sheets on it to work with bacterial issues (viruses and prions are just too damn small for a non-laboratory workspace to contain) and promptly place the cutting sheets into the dishwasher, wash my hands and equipment and the base cutting board.

Once a week I fill my kitchen sinks to the brim and add chlorine bleach before hitting the sack.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Feb 3, 2013 12:37:46 AM

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