Slicing and dicing: Chopping board colours and their meanings

Have you ever wondered why chefs use different coloured chopping boards in professional kitchens? And no – the colours are not for fun. They actually have an important purpose, and ensure safety in the kitchen when food is so finely sliced, it becomes unrecognisable. Let’s explore the different chopping board colours, one by one, so you can have even more appreciation for the hard work that goes on behind the scenes of your favourite restaurant.

chopping board colours

Chopping board colours, decoded:

Red chopping board

Red alert! The red chopping board is for cutting high-risk foods – like beef and other raw red meats. Chefs consider raw meat as a high-risk food because if it’s not cooked properly, it can lead to illnesses like salmonella. And nobody wants that! 

Blue chopping board

When you think of blue, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Water. So as you’ve probably guessed, the blue chopping board is for preparing raw fish, like salmon and trout, and crustaceans, like crab and crayfish.

chopping board colours

White chopping board

White – the colour of milk and many a delectable cheese, making it a fitting colour for the dairy chopping board. Doughs also get prepared on the white board, as well as freshly baked bread and pastries. 

Yellow chopping board

The yellow chopping board has a singular purpose. It’s for cutting up poultry, and poultry only. How do you remember this? Simple – just think about the colour of chicks and ducks.

chopping board colours

Green chopping board

If it grows on the earth, the green chopping board is what a chef uses to prepare it. Yes, we’re talking about fresh fruits and vegetables, like apples, oranges, cucumbers and lettuce. And if it grows in the earth, it gets chopped on this board too. We’re looking at root vegetables that get pulled out of the soil, like turnips, carrots and potatoes.

Brown chopping board

If a chef has cooked meat in need of slicing, on the brown chopping board it goes. This applies to all meat (red meat and white meat) – but excludes fish and shellfish as it poses an allergy risk.

chopping board colours

How to use a chopping board safely

When using a chopping board, it’s important to use it safely, whether you are using it in a professional kitchen or at home. To make sure your chopping board is secure, dampen a paper towel and place a small piece under each corner to prevent it from slipping. Once you’re ready to start chopping, jiggle the board a bit just to make sure it’s in place. You don’t want any accidental injuries! Another good chopping board practice is to place the board in the wash-up sink immediately after use, especially when preparing raw meat, to avoid contamination. 

Do you have a newfound respect for the humble chopping board?

When it comes to cutting up different foods in the kitchen, chefs don’t mess around. There is a strict structure to adhere to, with each coloured chopping board fulfilling a specific function. Impressive right? You’ve got to love that organisation!

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