* Prices may differ from that shown
I tend to spend a lot of time in my kitchen as I love to cook, which is a good job as all the cooking in our house falls to me!
**Price and Stockists**
We recently moved, and wandering round the likes of John Lewis and Debenhams the Joseph Joseph range caught my eye, as they appeared to not only be practical and functional they were (in my opinion!) pretty too, but I love coloured appliances! This was the first time that I had noticed Joseph Joseph, and I promptly picked up various utensils and appliances, before noting the price and promptly returning them to the shelves!
For example the Chop 2 Pot chopping board I am going to review has an RRP of £13 for a small board, which was more than I am prepared to pay for a small board! However, imagine my delight when browsing in TK Maxx the next weekend I found exactly the same board for £5 which I then bought.
Most of the big department stores stock Joseph Joseph, but I think the best tip would be to look in TK Maxx and on Amazon, where you can get the same products about 50% cheaper.
The idea behind the chop 2 pot, is quite simply getting the ingrediants you have just chopped straight to the pot!
The board lies flat whilst you chop away and then by simply "squeezing" the handle it forms what I can only describe as a shovel, which then allows you to simply tip whatever you have chopped into the pot. Originally I thought that when I squeezed the handle I would lose the food off the board, or that it would stick, but so far I have found no matter how much I chop up the food stays on the board until I tip it off. And once I tip it into the pot no bits are left stuck behind so I do not need to then "scrape" the rest in.
The board is a paler pink, more baby pink, than shown in the picture above, and is made from plastic (polypropylene to be exact) and is dishwasher safe. I have put this in our dishwasher a couple of times, but prefer to wash by hand as I feel then I know that it is properly clean as I do not use a specific board for veg and one for meat so to stop cross contamination I need to ensure I clean properly (and with spray!). I have found the board easy to clean, and so far no food posioning!
As I was limited on the choice in TK Maxx I did buy the small board - about the size of an A4 piece of paper, which I personally find the board to be a little bit too small, I think this is down to personal preference, it is big enough to chop meat/veg for 2 people, however I personally prefer a larger board (more A3 size!) where I can have a pile of prepared food, a pile of food to be prepared and a pile of food for the bin!
The other problem I have found with this board is that it marks easily when chopping with sharp knives, I have used this board about 3 times a week for the past 6 weeks and it is already full of slashes from my knives. This means that although it is easy to clean, for me to ensure that it is properly clean I am now cleaning with kitchen spray, followed by cleaning with hot soapy water, followed by rinsing to ensure that no bacteria is stuck in those score marks, though that may just be me being OCD.
In summary, I do love my board, I love the way it looks in my kitchen and I love the fact that it has a hole in the handle so I can hang it up on my hooks. In reality, I find it too small to be of practical use to me in the kitchen and tend to pull out my big wooden board if I am chopping more than one thing up.
~How much attention do you give your chopping boards?~
Chopping boards are kitchen essentials that most of us don't think about too much. Since I don't eat meat and therefore don't have to worry about the whole cross contamination issue that carnivores need to deal with, I've always been pretty happy chopping everything up willy-nilly without too much thought about what I'm chopping onto. I rejected wooden chopping boards a long time ago as too hard to keep hygienic, heavy and difficult to put into the dishwasher and have long been using plastic chopping boards in various weights and sizes.
A few years ago I spotted what looked like a really clever adaptation to the standard chopping board - boards that fold into a scoop and help you to direct the chopped food into the pan. I am all too familiar with the 'chuck it all over the cooker and the floor' outcome when trying to scoop chopped stuff off a board and into a pan that's smaller in diameter than the width of the board. With some types of chopped items - look away in shame carrots and mushrooms, you know it's you I'm talking about - even a small board and a big pan will have a high potential for a scatter zone. I don't know what the escape velocity of a cut piece of carrot is from a plastic chopping board but those chunks can get lively.
I love the firm Joseph Joseph and their intelligently designed kitchen products. The company was started by twin brothers (non identical - one's cuter than the other) Richard and Antony Joseph and has been in operation since 2003. One brother studied design and the other studied business so the outcome of a design-led business seems a logical outcome. Chopping boards seem to be a particular passion for the brothers who are regularly introducing new types designed to solve particular problems or perceived problems. There's an extra heavy duty one with rubber feet that won't slip (probably for dismembering dead bodies on your kitchen table with a cleaver). There's another designed to hold a joint whilst you carve it and a range with a built in knife for people with tiny kitchens or people who can't ever find a knife and a board under normal circumstances (yep, I failed to see the over-riding need for that particular option). Perhaps best known are their 'Index' systems with multiple colour coded boards for different food products.
Whilst I love their designs, what I don't love are their prices and I tend to check their range for inspiration and then go looking for cheaper copies. Despite knowing I fancied the idea of a folding chopping board, I didn't care sufficiently to do anything about it. I like my kitchen goodies but there's a limit on what I'll pay and £13-16 for a chopping board is beyond that limit.
~Me and my boards~
On a visit to our local TK Maxx to browse the delights of the household good section I spotted a batch of Chop2Pot boards and bought three - two large ones for home and a small one for the flat where I live during the week and where I have very limited counter space and only ever cook for one person. From memory the large ones were around £7 and the smaller one a pound cheaper. This made them around half the recommended price but a lot more than a standard plastic chopping board. We bought the large in sugar pink (which is MUCH lighter than the pink in the photo dooyoo have provided) and dark blue and the small in a pale blue. You'll not be surprised to hear that the product performance characteristics DON'T depend on the colour!
The cutting surface of the large board is 36 cm by 27 cm. The smaller is a more manageable 27 cm by 21 cm. The handles add 12 cm to the length. These sizes are OK for washing by hand but the large one is a bit of a nuisance to get into our dishwasher and I do like to use the dishwasher to make sure they're really clean since chopping boards are demons for harbouring bugs.
The boards employ what Joseph Joseph call 'living hinge' technology with a large hinge between the board and the handle, and two long hinges running down the handle and the board. When you pick up the board by the handle and squeeze, the board transforms into a scoop down which you direct food to the pan.
When using it for chopping, the Chop2Pot is fine so long as you take care to make sure it's flat to your counter top. If anything is in the way it on the counter under the board, it will not lie flat and without a good flat surface it's not easy to chop on. It's also a good idea before picking it up to take a knife and scoop any food that's too far outside the hinged area towards the centre of the board. The pink board is the one we've used most and I've found it's getting a bit annoying because it won't sit flat to the work surface without me bending the handle up away from the horizontal.
I have quite small hands and the large board is a bit too big for me. Although the handles on both are the same size, more pressure is needed to fold the big one and I find it quite tricky. Giving up and using it as a normal board isn't easy either as you end up with a floppy surface. The small one is much easier for me to handle and is my choice for all but the biggest items that need chopping.
The Chop2Pot works best with food which isn't wet or sticky. Once you've made the scoop by squeezing the handle, you can't go for the usual tactic of encouraging the food down the board with a knife because the sides of the scoop are too high. This is fine with things like carrot, courgette, mushrooms and other stuff that slides off easily but chopped tomatoes, onions or avocado can cling to the surface and need some encouragement.
After a few months of use, the surfaces of the boards still look good and are not overly scratched or cut up. The surfaces are said to be knife-friendly but I haven't been able to get my knives to tell me how they feel about their relationship with the boards and I haven't felt any difference when cutting onto these compared to normal boards.
~And the Verdict Is?~
In my opinion Joseph Joseph still have a way to go before they get the perfect all singing all dancing chopping board. This is a great product for products that don't 'stick' to the board and solves a well recognised problem of food escaping from the board en route to the pan BUT in creating a deep scoop, they've introduced a different problem of how to get the food that clings to the board out of the scoop. I have the perfect solution - it involves growing an extra arm though so until that happens, I'll continue using these alongside regular flat cutting boards. It'll be an 'as well as' and not an 'instead of' solution.
Joseph Pink Chopping Board
Chop 2 Pot
===== Browsing ====
I don't particularly like shopping for clothes but I love shopping for kitchen appliances and accessories! I was browsing in Bansburys, and I saw this! I knew it was perfect for my mother's birthday present; it was very stylish-looking! There was a range of colours from white to yellow to pink. I initially chose white because it seemed to be the least garish of them all. It boasts usefulness, you can slice and chop things on top of the chopping board, then from the handle, you can push up the ends of the boards to create a tiny chute that allows you to empty the contents into a pan or a bowl. Happily enough, I went home to give this to my mother. First thing she said was ' I thought they had this in pink?! I want the pink one!'. So luckily they had pink board in store.
==== Material ====
The innovative chopping board is made out of polypropylene plastic, which is a pretty sturdy piece of plastic and makes it rather stable to put some weight on top of it. It also apparently makes the product dishwasher safe but I have my own opinions about this- when chopping or slicing things up, you will inevitably end up with a lot of knife markings on the plastic itself. So when using this multiple times, it begins to look really unattractive and bits of food actually gets stuck inside the knife markings on the board. I don't expect products to look new forever but after using it a couple times, it begins to look really shabby and as if it has no place in my mother's kitchen with her other immaculate chopping boards. However, I have to say that the board is extremely lightweight, compared to my wooden chopping board so I do occassionally use it for the lack of weight.
It is also a bit coarse on the topside which is a bonus if you're dealing with slippery foods and needs some friction to control it while chopping!
There's no packaging involved here, it was just a sticker on the back; some might feel it was a plus not having packaging but it would have been nice to have some tips or guidelines on how to use the chopping board to keep it in a pristine condition.
The dimensions of the chopping board I purchased were 38cm x 22cm x 1cm. This is ample space on the board to transport whatever you want, as along it is a reasonable amount of food! The 1cm listed in my dimensions, I would say that it is actually smaller than 1cm, more like 0.6cm, which isn't as thick as I might like it to be.
==== Use of it ===
Joseph Joseph has a very good idea here; when chopping up vegetables on my notoriously heavy board, it does become of a juggling act with my board trying to get ALL the veg pieces into the pan/bowl. However when there's too much on the board itself, it become overflowed that the folding-up doesn't actually work! Also when using this a lot of times, the area between the handle and the board have become over-used that when I used it, it bends backwards due to the weight of the food on top of the board. It does sound a bit difficult to picture it, but it is as if where the board folds, it is no longer able to support the weight of the food efficiently. When putting the board on a flat surface, it doesn't flatten out so it makes it harder to chop/slice anything on the board and could potentially be dangerous to chop on uneven surfaces. It even gets in the way of chopping which is what the product was designed to do in the first place!
=== Other Features to Mention ====
It claims to be dishwasher free, which I haven't tried out yet as I don't have a dishwasher! Also comes with a 3 year guarantee.
==== Conclusion ====
I think the chopping board was very good value for the price I paid for it which was about £11 and I expect the price has dropped a bit since then. I can't help think that Joseph Joseph was being really cheap with his materials and could have strived to get better quality plastic to withstand the knife markings and the usage of it, rather than it failing its purpose of use within 3-4 uses.
It had been a while since I'd bought myself any new kitchen gadgets, so when I found this in my local gadget shop, I thought it would make a good addition to my collection.
What's great about this, is that you can buy it in such a variety of places, I've seen it in kitchen shops, gadget shops, or even department stores. You really don't know when you will stumble across it, but when you do, you'll find it hard to resist.
The idea behind the item is that it is a chopping board primarily, that has a handle that you can grip and it causes the whole board to kind of fold up. This is so that after chopping an onion say, you can lift the whole thing up and easily push it into your frying pan, without having to do a bit of a juggling act between a chopping board, a knife and your hands (always bad!). The product doesn't actually come with any packaging, which I think is great, although you'll obviously want to wash it first. It would have been easy to cover this in plastic or something for sale, so I'm glad it's been kept as eco friendly as possible.
As a chopping board this works well, it would be hard for it not to I suppose. It's not too hard or too soft, and I don't find that I have made many marks in it with my knife. The lines on which the board fold however, do look a bit rubbish as they bend, and they whiten, which makes you think they might snap or something. Having said this the product is very sturdy.
At £12-15, this not the cheapest chopping board you are going to find, but it is certainly something a bit different, and you could argue that it covers a range of needs. Not only this, but it does make a good gift for those that have it all, and enjoy cooking!