[quote=novice_01;223697]The comments are very helpful. Wow - the chemistry involved in cooking is much more complex than I had realized, and a lot over my head.
I didn't see the demonstration, so I can't give a good, straight answer to your question. If I've got the idea right, you're talking about adding enough oil to go from sauteing to frying. In other words, the hot oil will do most of the cooking rather than the hot pan itself. Yes, you could cook the chicken patty. It would actually look fine, and perhaps better. The surface texture and taste would be different.
Modern non-stick surfaces aren't as good as some other surfaces when it comes to creating an appearance. But they aren't complete failures either. It's all a matter of degrees. Non-stick really shines at cleanup, and handling difficult foods without good technique. Good technique -- heating the pan before adding oil, and allowing the oil to come to heat first -- covers a lot of ground, but is not perfect either. The best is some sort of combination of good technique with a high performance surface. I recommend simple, carbon-steel frying pans for most purposes, and stainless for the rest. Carbon steel, properly seasoned and maintained is as slippery as non-stick, but sautes and sears much better. We've talked about this.
Tell me what food classes and spices he's avoiding, what his favorite meat is, and I'll write a recipe for you that will teach you to develop a fond, deglaze it, and create a pan sauce. You can contact me by PM if you don't want to get too specific here. On the other hand, this might be instructive for others as well.