By Farrah Shaikh
Updated February 11, 2015
Brined Roast Chicken with Olive Bread Panzanella

Tonight, two Top Chef finalists, Mei Lin and Gregory Gourdet, face off in the finals of the 12th season. A few times, Mei has told her family story and the seeming disappointment her choice to be a chef has caused her parents. The one piece of advice they gave her? You'd better win.

For all of the cooks out there striving to impress their skeptical parents, here are six recipes that should always be perfect.

1. Poached Eggs

The quest to avoid over- or undercooking a poached can make for many failed eggs.

2. Soufflé

They will collapse or not rise at all. They can be burnt on the outside and liquid in the middle. Let’s face it. Soufflés can be a bitch to make.

3. Hollandaise Sauce

Too many things can go wrong with hollandaise: It can curdle, it can break, it can be too thick or thin. But get this right and pair it with your perfectly poached egg, and you will be a brunch master.

4. Pie Crust

No, you can't cheat and just buy a premade crust from the store. A good pie crust is the foundation of so many delicious recipes.

5. Roast Chicken

Something that should be so simple is a massive challenge to many. Chicken can be burnt on the outside while pink in the middle or painful dry.

6. Pâte à Choux

Culinary schools spend hours teaching students how to make this high-maintenance paste. Why? The goal is to have a fine, crispy crust with a light interior, and it takes continuous mixing to have the paste perfectly emulsify.