I'm pretty much a beginner when it comes to cooking but I'd really like to learn more, and having lots of experience with stackoverflow, a cooking exchange piques my interest. However, from reading meta, it seems to me that a big goal of this exchange is to attract "expert chefs", who, presumably, would not be interested in simplistic beginner questions.

Are questions suited for a beginner discouraged? If not, should they be tagged as such?

The type of questions I am thinking of includes:

  • How do you [technique x] and what is its purpose?
  • What could you use to season [food y]?
  • Why does my recipe recommend preparing my ingredients in this way?
  • etc.

3 Answers 3


Experts can still answer beginner-level questions and are often happy to do so (Stack Overflow has made this abundantly clear).

The important thing is not that the question is at an expert level, but that you're asking for an expert answer.

Certain questions - such as "I need a recipe for chicken wings" - do not appear to seek answers from experts in the cooking field. Nor do most questions about health/diet or "eating out" as somebody else brought up recently. Those kinds of questions can be answered by literally anyone; they're more along the lines of outsourcing research than they are about getting in touch with people in the know.

I think that all of us would like there to be a healthy number of expert-level questions, so that actual experts who visit the site will feel as though they themselves can get answers to their much more obscure/complex questions; but having a certain number of beginner-level questions is not only inevitable, it's a good thing. It greases the wheels of the site, keeps people sharp, and makes it possible for beginners to become experts over time.

So please, don't shy away from asking beginner questions; just stay on topic (please) and you will be fine!

(By the way, beginner questions are tagged accordingly on Trilogy sites as beginner. On this site, we seem to have gravitated toward the basic tag instead. If you feel that your question is very much at a beginner level, then please tag it [basic].)


Why is that any different from SO? The only thing different is the area of expertise. SO has many expert programmers, but beginner questions are allowed. I see no reason for this site to be different. If the site was for expert chefs to ask questions of other expert chefs it would be a small site. We want to attract expert chefs because that is how to get the best content, and we have to restrict the questions to those that can be answered because that will appeal to the expert chefs, but as long as the questions are on topic, they can be at any level as far as I am concerned.


I love "basic" questions from beginner cooks. There are some seriously knowledgeable and accomplished chefs on this site, I am not one of them. There is that funny element of competition here. When the question is highly technical I usually don't have much to add, but I do have quite a bit of kitchen experience under my belt. When someone asks something like "Why didn't my mac 'n cheese turn out?", I'm all over that question like white on rice! It's questions like that that let me play with the big boys.

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