Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:18 am
I think it depends on the usage. As a home cook, by 16x17.5" board has plenty of space, even with a juice groove. I'm not mowing through bunches of celery, bags of potatoes and onions, etc. I usually don't cut on the very edge of the board, either, so it doesn't really change much for me. I'm usually cutting up an onion, a pepper, couple potatoes, pack of mushrooms, etc, not boxes/crates/bags of the stuff. I don't have much of a problem sliding food off into a pan or bowl either and the slight extra time doesn't make a difference to me. I don't like the drag the knife across the board anyway and use my hand to better control the stuff; with the knife, it tends to fall everywhere but where I want it! I like the grooves because it keeps the counter mess down a bit; I don't have tons of extra towels around to soak up the run off or a washing service to take care of that each day. I cut up watermelon a lot, which is pretty juicy, same for pineapples. When I roast a chicken, I get a store chicken, which often have water added, so even after letting it sit for 5-15 minutes after cooking, there is a lot of extra water in it. I don't serve meats or anything on the board at all, it all gets transferred to another plate to put on the table since the board is big. One of the problems I had with the run off was it ran into where I used to store my stones; getting greasy chicken water or watermelon juice on the stones wasn't good!!
If I was a pro chef, working through a ton of food and where time was important, I would want a 14x20 board at least, no grooves and it would be lined by towels. For most home cooks, a 12x12 or 14x14 is plenty big I would think for most home food prep unless you are cooking for a big dinner or something.
It's kinda like knives. I like thinner carbon knives that take a wicked edge and require more care and attention. I am not cutting for 8 hours constantly, so edge holding isn't very critical for me. I like a Nakiri for veggies and I don't mind using different knives for different tasks instead of using a gyuto for everything. If I was cutting through produce and stuff for 8 or 10 hours straight, I would want a bigger chef knife that had better edge holding than White #2! I enjoy sharpening and can afford to take some times every few weeks to touch up the edge if it needs to.