Good looks in the kitchen are important. Artful olive oil decanters and chic pots and pans, colour-flecked carafes and peachy mixers all work to make the space feel hot, and gently encourage you to spend more time cooking. Meg Yonson knows this. She’s a food stylist, recipe developer and the founder of Fat Tuesdays, a small business selling a rainbow of very good-looking – and sustainably made – chopping boards.

Speckles of pink, yellow and white flit through the cobalt hues of the Blueberry Jam edition. The Raspberry Jam is a shock of pink confetti. And every little bit of the smooth, weighty boards is made from recycled post-consumer plastic.

Launched in June 2022, Fat Tuesdays has long been hard to get a hold of. The Sydney label’s first run sold out in three hours, and the second quickly followed suit.

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“There was a good year there that we thought the business wasn’t going to continue,” Yonson tells Broadsheet. “We couldn’t scale the boards in a way that made sense sustainably. It took well over a year to reinvent the process from scratch.”

The “we” she’s referring to is herself and Defy Design, the Botany-based recycled plastic manufacturer and studio Yonson makes her boards with. Its commitment to an ethical product is steadfast, she says. The team rejects the “the way it is” model of manufacturing in Australia: designing here and making overseas in bulk. The team’s hellbent on making pieces it’s truly proud of.

In Defy’s factory, plastic saved from landfill is sorted, washed (quite literally in a washing machine) and shredded into coloured flakes ready to take on a new form.

Aesthetics drove Yonson’s initial idea. Working with food daily, she was tired of boring kitchenware made from Pyrex, stainless steel and flimsy plastic. “It’s truly ugly,” she sighs. “Why didn’t they design it just a bit differently? To be cuter.”

“Cuter” was just one aspect of a lengthy brief spanning colourways and curves, Yonson explains. “I’m quite annoying to the factory and to my designers because I have such a [clear] vision. I’m very specific. I’ll be out and I’ll find a banana in this tone of yellow and I’ll be like, ‘Guys, we need to create this!’

“[And] green tones can look so spew or so forest-y – and not cute – really easily. We’re nearly at the point of the green being really great, and everyone wants to see Guacamole back.”

While those hues are yet to be perfected, the sustainability has been. “[Defy is] 100 per cent only-recycled-plastic manufacturing. And everything that they do is circular,” Yonson says. Even when the smooth edges of the boards are sanded back, sending flecks of plastic flying, the waste bits are collected and injected back into the cycle.

The Fat Tuesdays journey has been a slow burn, but the little team has been doubling orders with each drop. Even before the initial launch, Yonson’s plans for a 20-board release quadrupled. “To me, that was mammoth. I was like, ‘80 boards!? Who am I going to sell these to?’ I was just envisioning myself in my office surrounded by boards because no one wanted them.”

Happily, there’s much to come. Measuring cups are in the final design stages with Redfern studio Vert, and tea towels and totes are planned too. Plus, more board colours.

“I love briefing, I love creative direction – so new products interest me a lot. Whereas everyone’s like, ‘We want to see more colours,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m thinking of all these other things.’ I think very big … I sometimes need to come back and just think ‘Okay, what’s another colourway?’”

Fat Tuesdays chopping boards are made with recycled post-consumer HDPE plastic. They’re BPA-free, FDA food-safe approved and recyclable through Defy.

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