Making food too complicated

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Washing Up
Jul 8, 2006
It's not how many ingredients or how complicated a recipe is. I am not a fan of those books that supposedly limit the number of ingredients in order to make cooking easier.

It's a matter of learning which ingredients work well together and how to create a dish in the most logical, not necessarily cumbersome, way.


Sep 5, 2004
Ah, now I have it. There are definitely shows I watch where I'm thinking, "Geez, this is going to be extremely difficult to reproduce for someone with limited cooking experience." It's times like that I think they're just showing off! :LOL:

I think I'd want to demonstrate recipes people could actually make at home.

Do you ever read Everyday Food? It's a Martha Stewart publication. The ingredient lists are purposely short and the techniques are widely practiced. I love this little gem. It's a small format magazine so you can take it into the store if needed. If the July/August issue is still on news stands or at the supermarket checkout, grab it and look for my French Potato Salad recipe which starts on Page 121. I made it up for a BBQ because I wanted a non-mayo salad - and something different! You can look through the magazine and see if it might interest you on an ongoing basis. I subscribe to many food magazines and Saveur and Everyday Food are the only two that make me say, "I want to make that, that and THAT!" after looking at every page. Good stuff.
Aug 13, 2009
Eastern PA
I echo the general sentiment that good food does not need to be complicated. If you use fresh ingredients and seasonings that compliment the dish, you don't need to depend on complex flavor layers.

I love watching Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen nightmares series, both the US and UK versions. In one episode he challenges the french chef of a failing restraunt to make a dish to present for review. This chef overcomplicated matters with over 20 ingredients, while gordon's version of the same dish only had a handful. The food critic reviewing the dishes chose gordon's hands down.

When I cook, I strive to keep things simple, although I do cook outside of the box and experiment to see what new flavor combinations I can make. I just keep myself on a leash. :P

A good steak just needs salt and pepper and perhaps a good marinade first for a few hours to help tenderize. Sauces, as another poster pointed out, were commonly used to disguise questionable quality of meat back in the days when refrigeration was almost non-existant.


Executive Chef
Moderator Emeritus
Aug 31, 2004
SE Pennsylvania
There is great value in KISS (keep it simple stupid), and rule #1 in cooking is get the best ingredients and don't mess them up! DO NO HARM! All that said, layers of flavor may be adding ingredients or just lightly seasoning each component as it goes in.

One of the major problems on these shows like CHOPPED is the time element. No "think" time, and little prep and cook time. So a lot of chef training goes out the door. Can't prepare the meez, can't inventory the pantry, can't plan the flavors until you already have something burning on the rangetop. Is that drama? No it's just playing with food. What a waste of time talent and ingredients! But it's TV
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