Here's another area where what works in a commercial kitchen just won't do for a residential kitchen. Chef Michael Daniels explains: "That white fireboard stuff you put in most of the kitchens is not a real nice look."
Other options for the backsplash include solid surface, quartz, natural stone, stone tile, glass, glass tile and ceramic tile. Just watch out for flying ingredients.
"I made the mistake in my last place of putting tile in there with white grout. Once you get some oil or some cooking grease on that grout, it's never coming out again," says Chef Duncan Firth. "I tried bleaching it. I eventually found some sealers. I've got stainless steel now. It's easy to clean, you can soap it up."
Not that stainless steel is the only workable option; the other backsplash materials mentioned above are fine as long as they're properly installed and sealed. But for sheer convenience, chefs say stainless steel is hard to beat.