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Recipes/techniques you'd memorize for Master Chef?

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I watch Master Chef, and I always find myself amazed at what contestants are able to churn out without recipes. Cooking an entree is easy enough, you can taste and adjust. It's the baking and specific techniques that terrify me.

Things I'd want to be super comfortable with making/doing with no assistance or notes -
Choux pastry (versatile, and they did eclairs in the last episode)
Pasta is always solid. If I weren't experienced in it, I'd practice.
Cake - A chocolate and a white cake recipe
Custard - useful in many different ways
Deep fried XYZ - I'm not comfortable enough with this
Pastry/Pie Crust - simple but dangerous
Citrus Curd - if your ratio is off, you're screwed
Caramel (and sugar temps) - nuff said

What do you think?

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    1. One of the first things you will pick up when cooking in high-end professional restaurants or going to good culinary school is that much of cooking is ratio's. You learn the ratios and then just tweak them a bit and you can make anything on the fly. If you are truly interested I highly suggest you get this book:

      http://www.amazon.com/Ratio-Simple-Be...

      Just realized my examples didn't get added to the last post, here they are:

      Choux Pastry = 2/2/1/1
      2 parts Water
      2 parts Egg
      1 part Butter
      1 Part Flour
      (Plus salt for seasoning

      )

      Pound Cake = 1/1/1/1

      1 part Butter
      1 part Sugar
      1 Part Egg
      1 part Flour

      Pie Dough = 3/2/1

      3 parts flour
      2 parts fat
      1 part water

      Custard = 2/1

      2 Parts Liquid
      1 Part Egg

      Etc Etc Etc.

      Just learning the ratios and then tweaking them a little bit will give you tremendous creativity and allow you to cook without a recipe in front on you.

      Cheers

      1. you need to know how to make the three basic sauces; Hollandaise, Bechamel and Veloute