Essential Tools

Drumroll... the Food52-Branded Cutting Board Results Are IN

by:
May  8, 2018

The Food52 product line is happening, thanks to YOU.

Quick catch-up for those who missed it:

Then things got crazy.


THE RESULTS: BY THE NUMBERS

10,000 of you answered every question. And many thousands offered additional detailed, impassioned thoughts. Clearly there’s a need for a better cutting board in this world!

Shop the Story

Here are the key takeaways from the questionnaire—with some comments from us:

  • High quality wood matters to you. A lot. 70% of you said so.
  • Medium weight and thickness is best—73% of you wanted something that was neither chunky nor flimsy. Goldilocks wants her cutting board juuuuust right.
  • 40% of you like Cherry/Teak and 34% like Maple/Birch—which was a surprise to us because, traditionally, walnut boards have been our best-sellers.
  • 89% of you want a rectangular board.
  • You were split between wanting one large board that could handle all tasks, and wanting both a large and small board.
  • 67% of you want sustainably harvested wood, regardless of where it comes from.
  • Indents/grooves to help lift the board would be a nice-to-have.

THE DEVIL’S IN THE DETAILS

We thought creating a cutting board would be a straightforward endeavor. Nope! In addition to the above consensus around key design features, you shared boatloads more details. Here’s some of what you were shouting from the rooftops for:

  • A deep groove to catch juices on one side for cutting cooked meat and no groove on the other side for prep work. This is more expensive to pull off, but we love this concept.
  • Dishwasher safe. Alas, this won’t work for a wood board.
Some of your feedback on our Instagram Story survey, in screenshots.
  • An option to personalize or engrave. We’re looking into this.
  • A board that’s affordable. Wood selection and design details make the most difference here, but we’re setting a goal of less than $125.
  • A board that can easily stand on its side to dry quickly.
  • A lip to hug your counter edge.
  • Non-slip feet on the bottom of the cutting board. This may be difficult to pull off if we do a juice groove, as people also want a flat side.
We really appreciated your thoughtful responses to our Instagram Story survey.
  • Sized to fit across a sink, so it could be used as a workstation.
  • A board made of a solid piece of wood to avoid splitting/cracking. We hear you!

What's Next on Our Cutting Board Journey?

The next step is getting a couple of prototypes made. Given the number of features that are important to you (which have an impact on the price of the board), we decided to move ahead with less expensive and durable maple over cherry or teak.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“The best boards were all grain up, solid top to bottom (one cutting side to the other), and were either laminated in strips the length of the board, or were in a checkerboard pattern. The glue used in lamination, of course, has to be non-toxic AND waterproof. As for feet, why not have rubber (or other material) corners that completely cover the corners on all sides and be L shaped or triangular on both working sides? It's simple and leaves space, especially if L shaped, for trenching or a juice groove. ”
— John H.
Comment

Here are the two options we have in mind:

  1. An 18-inch by 13-inch reversible maple board: One side will have a deep juice groove; the other side will be flat.
  2. An 18-inch by 13-inch reversible maple board: One side will be trencher style (with a sloped trench for catching juices—as it’s less likely to overflow like a groove, and makes pouring juices easier); one side will be flat.

We should have these ready to show you by the first or second week of June. Sharpen your knives and get ready for the next round of feedback. In the meantime, stay on the lookout for our next branded product announcement. (Hint: You may want to stand on it while chopping on your new cutting board.)

Are you excited for our private label line? Let us know what other products you'd love to see from us!

42 Comments

Pat I. June 12, 2018
I believe end grain is very important. I have been using the same end grain maple board for 40+ years and it’s as good as new. There is also some research that has been done regarding the antibacterial properties of certain woods and I recall that as end grain is tighter/less absorbent this is also a factor. Love the idea of a trench on one side but might miss my rubber feet that hold the board in place. Love watching this progression.
 
Smaug July 10, 2018
HUH? The vast majority of moisture that any piece of wood absorbs is through end grain. In order to have any chance of surviving structurally an end grain board, at least one less than 6" or so thick, is going to have to have a very tight grain- maybe that's what you're thinking of.
 
BeeBait June 3, 2018
Lots of good ideas here. Really enjoying the brain-storming process and all the great ideas. Maybe too many for one cutting board. Could be a "family" of boards with different options. One for baking, one for meat, prep, or personalized serving... and made with the material/wood of the customer's choice.
 
Susan H. May 28, 2018
Looking forward to your new cutting boards!
 
Mary C. May 12, 2018
I can't wait to see the final product--of the cutting board and all the rest! I'd love to see what kind of baking pan/sheet your team could come up with (rimmed vs. non-rimmed, non-stick or silpated (I just made that word up, large vs. not). And mixing bowls (heavy clay base, glass, or metal, spouted or not, lip or no lip).
 
Amanda H. May 21, 2018
Prototypes should be coming soon -- and love the idea of a baking sheet. We'll add this to our list. As for mixing bowls, can't say for sure, but I have a feeling this is in the works. :)
 
Toni May 11, 2018
I bet many people don't realize that American oak is naturally powerfully antiseptic. Yet food safe. Bacteria from raw meat is killed naturally after thirty minutes even if the cutting board is never wash, rinsed off, or even dry-wiped off. That is why American oak was used traditionally and it is why the extract from American oak is used even today in an over-the-counter natural antibiotic salve 6X more powerful than Neo sporin.
 
Jaye B. May 13, 2018
Thanks for your info. I didn't know this about oak. It sounds like it would be an excellent wood for a cutting board so I'm surprised it's not more common. What is the natural antibiotic salve you refer to?
 
Amanda H. May 21, 2018
Thanks so much, Toni -- really interesting!
 
Smaug July 10, 2018
That's a new one on me- plants tend to be more troubled by fungi and viruses than bacteria- most of the oak diseases I know of are fungal. Red oak is very porous, not great for a cutting board. It is medium hard and has good dimensional stability, but doesn't seem to do well in outdoor applications. It also has high acidity, which could possibly effect the properties of a knife edge, and is somewhat prone to splintering.
 
Smaug August 8, 2018
A bit of poking around on the internet has produced some info on this. The basis for most of these claims se3ems to be a study done at the University of Wisconsin led by Dr. Dean Cliver which, however, didn't differentiate results of a dozen wood species tested all had apparent ability to inhibit bacterial growth. Hard to say how solid it is; in his own results he says that studies by established scientific laboratories have contradicted his results, but cites numerous projects by school children backing it. Bing gave leads to some other stuff about antibiotic properties of white oak and oak moss, and a weird article in a Witchipedia, or some such. Maybe someday I'll find time to look into this more, but I didn't find anything much that would indicate red oak would be any better than an average material for cutting boards.
 
RoJean May 11, 2018
What about bamboo cutting boards.this could be hand washable.and a deep21/2""trench for juices when carving.
 
RoJean May 11, 2018
Nice to share with you and everyone else who is the best to give feedback and design us,chefs !!!Looking forward to the prototypes!!would you ever consider a round one,large for pizza dough.
 
Amanda H. May 21, 2018
Hi RoJean, yes we would -- we're planning to test out essential products across different areas of the kitchen and see what we learn. Then we'll consider variations on ones we've already done, so stay tuned!
 
Busy B. May 11, 2018
I love that you’re communicating the results with us, and involving us in building this. It feels like a team project. Super excited to see the final result!
 
Amanda H. May 21, 2018
So glad to have you involved!
 
BeeBait May 11, 2018
Bigger is better, 20 x 16 x 1 would be great. I'm enjoying this process, and seeing the survey results.
 
Amanda H. May 21, 2018
Thanks for your input! We should have another product announcement coming soon.
 
nancy S. May 11, 2018
I take on board the idea of the trench (I am an all around grove fan) but I too have a plastic trench board which I use to rest meat on...and it does make collecting the jus more practical than an all around grove. Now that I think of it. (Never carve on a plastic board...I've learned my lesson.) Also, not interested in 'feet' on a board....and while I too have a beautiful maple 'Pig' cutting board...it is more decorative than usable for chopping. It is awful to try to scrape ones cut up veg into a bowl, due to the shape of the Pig...cutting sandwiches perhaps...but not for chopping.
 
Amanda H. May 21, 2018
Thanks, Nancy!
 
Barry May 11, 2018
Thanks for sharing the results and bringing us along on the product development journey. <br /><br />I’ll sit out on the first offering of your new cutting board. My favorite board is 20”x14”, I don’t like maple cutting boards and I’m willing to pay a bit more. Obviously I’m not your target! :) <br /><br />I look forward to seeing how the design plays out and wish you the best!
 
Amanda H. May 21, 2018
Thanks for following along! And good to know your thoughts. We've loved how strongly everyone feels about cutting boards.
 
R May 11, 2018
Trench should have a tapered-round hole on the bottom sealed with MY wine cork, so that when it is fullish, it can be drained for later use.
 
BakerBren May 11, 2018
Trenches and grooves don't really hold much juice--about 6Tbs at best. I'd rather have the board flat on both sides and be able to fit it into a sheet pan so that would catch all the juice. And it would hold much more.
 
Amanda H. May 21, 2018
That was a suggestion that came through in the survey comments as well. But many more people wanted a large cutting board. V2 perhaps?
 
Hilary H. May 11, 2018
The second option above sounds great - love the idea of the trench, I have board with the groove all the way round and it is difficult to get the meat juices into the gravy, I think a trench would work well. Thanks for involving us and for the updated!<br />
 
Amanda H. May 21, 2018
Happy to! We hear you on pouring from a groove and we're working on a solution for this. Fingers crossed.
 
John H. May 11, 2018
I really like the idea of a trencher style in a wood board, I have one in plastic and it's great. Two other things: a solid board does not prevent cracks. Quite the opposite. Every solid board I've ever owned eventually cracked, laminated boards did not. The best boards were all grain up, solid top to bottom (one cutting side to the other), and were either laminated in strips the length of the board, or were in a checkerboard pattern. The glue used in lamination, of course, has to be non-toxic AND waterproof. As for feet, why not have rubber (or other material) corners that completely cover the corners on all sides and be L shaped or triangular on both working sides? It's simple and leaves space, especially if L shaped, for trenching or a juice groove.
 
linda May 11, 2018
Good comments
 
Amanda H. May 21, 2018
John, thank you for your detailed thoughts. We considered end-grain wood but it's quite expensive and people who answering the survey made it clear that price matters. If you keep a solid wood board oiled, this helps ward off cracking, and we plan on sharing instructions for this. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts -- you clearly speak from experience!
 
Shameeka M. May 11, 2018
Thanks for including the readers in the process. I’m enjoying this!
 
Amanda H. May 21, 2018
So glad!
 
Lauren May 11, 2018
18x 10 sounds way too narrow. They’d be more useful at 20x 14...also, Any chance they could be end grain?
 
Amanda H. May 21, 2018
Good point -- thank you. We considered end grain but it's significantly more expensive to produce. We may revisit, though, if this first cutting board does well.
 
linda May 11, 2018
I’m psyched! Love the idea of some way to easily pour out accumulated juices, but don’t want them free-flowing over counter. Ty for both asking and listening!
 
Amanda H. May 21, 2018
And thank YOU for weighing in -- can't tell you how helpful everyone's feedback has been.
 
Ron S. May 9, 2018
Boos
 
Amanda H. May 21, 2018
Boos is great -- with your help, we believe we can do even better!
 
Gus'Mom May 8, 2018
I am glad that you are considering a variety of options, but am sad that the pig shape did not win a slot. Maybe there could be a special edition pig carving board to celebrate the Piglet?
 
Amanda H. May 21, 2018
Ahh -- like this idea! #piglet