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Are questions about shows like hell's kitchen allowed?

For example I wanted to ask if dishes like risotto or beef Wellington are really hard to cook because the contestants often fail at this. Is it realistic that you would still mess up after you nailed the dish before?

I know the show is 100% fake.I still wanted a professional point of view on this.

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While your questions are obviously inspired by the show, they don't seem like they're really about the show at their core. These questions are really just of the form "What makes X difficult, what typically goes wrong, how do I avoid it?"

Questions like that are fine, as long as they're not overly broad. We don't want something like "please give me your best tips for making lasagna". But "assuming I have a good recipe, what do I need to watch out for?" can be a quite useful question. And I'm guessing you often know how the contestants failed ("your beef wellington needs more welly") you can simply ask about that issue - what causes it, how you avoid it, and so on.

Of course, if the contestants are failing at subjective things (there's a little too much parmesan and not quite enough herbs, this is the worst risotto I've ever had), that doesn't make for an interesting question. If you ask about that kind of stuff, there's a good chance we'll close it as subjective, and tell you to find a better recipe or adjust the ingredients next time.

  • since i cannot cook at all and have no knowledge it would be the first type "What makes X difficult, what typically goes wrong, how do I avoid it?". Thanks for clearing that up – Wandang Apr 29 '14 at 18:31
  • @Wandang I figured they commented in the show about what the issue was? Or do they just say "you fail at risotto" without any reason? – Cascabel Apr 29 '14 at 20:05
  • Of course they provide different reasons(under/overcooked,bad seasoning,salty,mushy,hard corns) but it always seems scripted to me because chefs should not forget how to make a dish every time (but then the show would not work). That's why i wanted to ask the question^^ – Wandang Apr 29 '14 at 21:08
  • You have already found our Seasoned Advice Chat as well; it is certainly something we can discuss there. But you risk cat pictures and mushroom stories, and mooses and such. – SAJ14SAJ Apr 29 '14 at 22:21
  • @Wandang Ah - well, I don't know, some of those things are better questions than others. If you actually want to know "is it hard not to season it right, or to not make it too salty?" the answer is going to be "taste it and see, and use a good recipe." (I suspect a lot of what's going on in the show is just people making dumb mistakes when under a lot of pressure, or maybe cooking above their skill level.) But "how do I tell when it's done?" is a perfectly good question. – Cascabel Apr 29 '14 at 22:48
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I am afraid that your question as stated

are dishes like risotto or beef Wellington really hard to cook

ill have to be closed. It doesn't matter if you refer to a cook show or not. But all StackExchange sites close subjective questions, and this is one of the most subjective questions I have seen.

A dish can be called "hard to cook" for you if your probability to fail is above X percent. And here we have three subjective factors at once:

  1. How much is X percent? Is a dish "hard" if it fails more than half of the time, or more than 10%, or what? But this is the least problem, you could define this in the question.
  2. When is a dish considered "failed"? I have cooked tea countless times. By the tea standard of my mother, I succeeded every single time - she'd drink it as long as it is warm and watery. By the standards of people grown up with elaborate expectations of what tea should be like, I probably failed 100% of the time. This is completely subjective.
  3. What is the experience of the person who is cooking it? There is no international scale of "hardness" for cooking. Somebody who has made the dish 100 times will get it right the 101st time too. Somebody who has made muffins 100 times will probably get his first sponge cake right too. Somebody who has baked for years but never made a custard will probably botch a zabaglione.
  4. Not only your previous experience matters, but also your personal talents and constraints. Is cake decoration hard? If your hands shake or your eyesight is bad or your hand-eye coordination is lacking, it can be quite hard. If you are an artist (or a surgeon, or a video game player), it can be very easy.
  5. For many dishes, there are frequently many different ways to do them. The easiest may be quite easy, but have low acceptance, while the common way is much harder. For example, getting a roast of an arbitrary size to medium is terrifying to everybody who cooks by time, but is perfectly easy with a thermometer.

There is just no single subjective scale which can say "risotto is hard". Even trying to compare it to other foods will probably fail - I could tell you that a risotto is harder than making meatballs and easier than frying eggs. This would totally stump my father, who firmly believes that frying eggs is much easier than making meatballs.

In general, remember that Stack Exchange sites excel at "How" questions. If you tried something and can't get it to work, we are a good place to ask. "Why" questions are also very good, as we can explain the theory behind something you observe happening. But most other types don't fare so well. "Which" questions, as in "which recipe should I choose", or "which dish is hard to cook" are almost always a bad fit and will be closed.

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