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?