Why David Chang Will Judge You By What Cutting Boards You Own

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The only thing that sets an amateur home cook apart from a seasoned chef is technique – and, perhaps, the right tools for the job. Anthony Bourdain famously revered the knife as the ultimate kitchen tool, considering the callus on a chef's hands from where the heel of the knife rubs as the ultimate mark of an industry professional. "You can feel it when you shake my hand," he said, "just as I feel it on others of my profession. It's a secret sign." Food Network host Ted Allen swears by the fish spatula. But for David Chang, the celebrity chef behind the Momofuku empire, you can't overestimate the importance of a good cutting board. As Chang tells GQ, "If I go to someone's home, I'm almost always gonna judge you on your kitchen, and one of the things I'm gonna judge you on right off the bat is, 'What kind of cutting board do you use?'"

When soup season rolls around, you'll be chopping thick potatoes, squash, and endless mirepoix for months on end. In the summertime, fresh produce will line the cutting boards of home cooks all season long. In other words, cutting boards are never not crucial to a home cook's arsenal. "If you have one of those thin plastic things, like, no, that's not what you wanna do," Chang continues. "You want something that's sturdy, and something you can do work on."

Solid tools for solid work

When David Chang is shopping for his ideal cutting board, he opts for a "Boos Blocks" model by John Boos. It's made of solid maple wood and is NSF-certified for quality with extensive product testing. In short, NSF certification assures cooks that a cutting board will be the type that, as Chang prescribes, you can do work on. Admittedly, this quality model comes with a Momofuku-worthy price tag. The best-selling 1 ½-inch thick, 20 inch by 15 inch Boos Block retails for $124.95.

Still, by Chang's prescription, shelling out for the right tool is a worthy investment when quality counts. Chef Jordan Terry of Dirty French agrees, but recommends a heavy rubber model instead of a wooden one. "This isn't some thin, plastic malarkey," says Terry, via Gear Patrol. "It's a solid, beautiful, and terribly functional cutting board. They are just a joy to cut on." Rubber cutting boards are also commonly used in professional kitchens. Plus, many durable rubber and plastic cutting boards can be found at a more budget-friendly price, like this model by OXO Good Grips for $32.95.