The Worst Mistake A Cooking Show Contestant Can Make, According To Chris Santos

It's no secret that even the best chefs and home cooks make mistakes. "Chopped" judge Geoffrey Zakarian shared with FN Dish that one of the common blunders found among the contestants on the competition series is their inability to properly season food. Zakarian added that many of the chefs don't use enough salt and pepper when preparing their dishes. Food Network also covered issues observed among the amateur cooks on "Worst Cooks in America," including overmixing, not following the recipe, crowding the pan, and not letting pans get hot before adding food.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Press From also reported on the typical mistakes chefs make when cooking and baking, including not allowing cakes and bread to cool and over-seasoning with too much garnish or sauce. Like Zakarian, Chris Santos is no stranger to observing kitchen fails as a judge on "Chopped." So which cardinal sin reigns supreme according to the New York City chef? 

Too little time and too many elements can ruin a dish

Have you ever heard this expression: "Too many cooks spoil the broth"? Well, Santos believes when it comes to ingredients, less is more, telling Insider that mistakes are made when cooks try to do too much with less time and resources. "You don't need 100 things happening in a dish to make it memorable," he said. Fellow "Chopped" judge and chef Maneet Chauhan echoes Santos' sentiment to Insider, adding that when time is of the essence, a perfect dish is still possible even when you don't have as much to work with in the kitchen. 

Santos, alternatively, told the Insider that it's more important to pair different flavors together to achieve a balanced dish rather than experimenting with incompatible flavors to impress the judges or your dinner guests. Much like the "too many cooks" phrase, adding too many steps, spices, and seasoning can unnecessarily complicate a dish. So the next time you're planning an elaborate meal, consider whether you're willing to sacrifice simplicity and deliciousness over a complex recipe with a laundry list of steps and ingredients.