Don’t replace your cutting board – reface it!


In a restaurant, cutting boards are very expensive – especially if they’re for built in work stations.  If you cut items like carrots or raw meats, it will discolor the surface of the cutting board and scrubbing will only do so much.  The health department will also fine a restaurant if their cutting boards are not bright white.

This post was unintentional.  Unfortunately, I was making sushi for a party the other day and had to run out the door quickly.  All of the carrots that I had cut stained the board.  I’ve had this cutting board for at least 4 years and it usually retains its white patina as it is washed immediately after use.

Stained cutting board
You may be tempted to throw this away – don’t!

So enter the fix: use an orbital sander with a low grit sandpaper until all of your discoloration and knife marks are removed.  Then switch to a high grit sandpaper to smooth off the surface so it does not retain new stains.  That last part is very important.  If you leave the surface of your cutting board porous, you will not be able to clean it with a scrub pad.

Use an orbital sander on your cutting board
Use an orbital sander on your cutting board.  I started with a 150 grit sandpaper and finished with a 220 grit.  For tougher stains and deeper knife marks, start with an 80 grit sandpaper, then proceed to the other two.
DeWalt orbital sander and Diablo sandpaper was used.
DeWalt orbital sander and Diablo sandpaper was used.

The cutting board that you should have is an anti-microbial semi-soft plastic.  This ensures that it does not ruin your knives and is also able to be sanitized.  Glass cutting boards will kill your blades, so if you’re buying expensive knives – be prepared to replace them frequently.

Wood cutting boards are okay depending on what you plan to do with them, but you have to season them properly.  For the most part, you are unable to sanitize wood cutting boards.  So the chicken that you cut for dinner last night on a wood cutting board will still be there when you’re cutting lettuce for lunch the next day.

-Chef James

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