I see this more so with BBQ yet it’s a fairly universal situation. It’s the overuse and over emphasis of sauce. Let me keep this simple, if the dish is a song, the sauce is the keyboard. It’s a great addition and can add a lot but it shouldn’t be the centerpiece of the dish.
I’m not saying time and care shouldn’t be taken when making a sauce, you should always go all out when cooking anything. But let’s take BBQ for example, real smoked meat shouldn’t need a sauce and those who push these “magic” sauces don’t really seem to get the point of smoking meat in the first place. Fun fact but whenever I try a new place, I always get the pulled pork plan since I want to taste the meat and see if the guy is a poser or a pro.
You might argue that pasta is an exception and I totally agree that you have to go slow n low when you make a good red sauce but if the pasta is overcooked the dish is going to be shit.
This is one of my biggest issues with Ranch dressing. Ask anyone who’s ever cooked in a bar, you could deep-fry damn near anything and people will dip it in Ranch and rave about it. Even if take the time to do something like wings the right way, it doesn’t matter, most people don’t care, it’s just a vessel for fucking Ranch dressing.
Food is a matter of balance. The various ingredients and components should be able to stand alone while also working together. If the dish sucks, own it and fix it, figure it out. You shouldn’t try to mask it, you can’t. A little sauce in the right place can give a sense of melody but it’s not going to carry it.