Nate Kutsko is a born problem solver. His day gig is a partner with his father in a handyman service that has earned a reputation for coming into houses and being able to fix just about anything that needs repairing, from plumbing to electrical to woodworking. In his home workshop, Kutsko likes to tinker around with projects, especially with wood.
He noticed that when he and his friends were picnicing outdoors at concerts or at Nashville’s Steeplechase, it was really difficult to find a flat surface to serve your food and drink on. So he added two adjustable stakes to a flat board and voila, the Picnic Dock was born.
But I’m not talking about the Picnic Dock today. First I have to admit a personal problem. I’m a chopaholic. Yes, it’s true, I love to practice my kitchen knife skills and will mise en place all the onions, garlic, celery, carrots etc. in the kitchen if you don’t stop me. For some reason, I just appreciate the zen moments of working with a good chef’s knife. Consequently, I own a whole lot of cutting boards. Like twenty. That’s the real problem. Well, that and the forty knives that I have to keep sharpened.
With a name like “Kutsko,” (not to be confused with these guys) it was pretty logical that Nate started to experiment with some wooden cutting boards. As per usual, he looked for a problem and then thought about the solution.
When chopping veggies, one of the hardest parts is keeping your completed trimmings together and transferring them to your bowl or pan without scattering them all over the floor or counter. Kutsko came up with the brilliant idea of leaving a raised ridge down both sides of the board to trap the vegetable pieces and guide them into your final receptacle.
Theboard comes in three sizes, either in a set or separately.
Another popular option is the Rhombus board. It is unusual in that it allows you to use either side depending on whether you are right or left handed, and on which direction you like to sweep your cuttings while you work.
The Trapezoid took a little getting used to when I first tried it out. The raised edge of the board looks like you might catch your knife on it, but in actuality you should be cutting perpendicular to your onion, carrot etc. and down the middle of the board, so it’s not an issue. The large board is plenty big enough for almost any kitchen task, and it makes for a dramatic serving tray as well.
After you’re finished chopping, it is simple to swipe your mise en place down the narrow end of the board into whatever vessel you are assembling your dish in. (Note: be sure to use your hand, a kitchen scraper or the back side of your knife to sweep the cuttings. You never use the blade of your good knives, do you?!)
The Rhombus has a channel cut below the level of the cutting surface that felt a lot more natural to work with, although it did take up a little more space on my counter top. For lefty or righty use, just flip the board over to position the channel on the other side. If you’re ambidextrous, that’s half the clean up!
…then simply sweep everything into the channel and into your bowl. Yes, you’ll notice that I use cheap exam gloves when I cut up a lot of onions and/or garlic. That’s a power user tip if you don’t want your hands to repel vampires for a week.
Most of my cutting boards are synthetic, not wood, but these hard maple Kutsko boards are really pretty. Nate recommends that you always wash and dry your boards by hand and periodically seal them with walnut oil for protection. There is always a concern of cross contamination when cutting meats, so maybe these would best be used for just your fruits and veggies. Cut that chicken up on a non-porous plastic board, and be sure to wash it thoroughly between each use.
If you have more questions about Kutsko products, check out their informative FAQ
on their website. Nate has also put together some informative videos on how to properly slice and chop vegetables and how to use and take care of your new cutting boards.
Kutsko cutting boards are available at www.kutskokitchen.com and at a very limited number of retail outlets. They range in price from $20-60, but they are really unique tools for your kitchen that would make very unique gifts or great additions to your counter top.
What I Like: Cutting boards I didn’t already own. Go figure! Innovative solutions that look striking in your kitchen.
What Needs Improvement: I wish that a plastic version was available, but since these are handmade, the cost of dies would be prohibitive. Just take care of the wood.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review samples