Tools I use
Pots & pans are essential in cooking and good ones are optimal but they can come with a high price tag. Keep in mind that you can find really good pots & pans at home discount stores. You will need a good skillet and a couple of different sizes of saucepans and a dutch oven.
A good blender is really a necessity in a kitchen. Soups, dressings, smoothies and so on, must be fully emulsified and this can really only be achieved with a high speed blender. Make the investment in a good one so it will last for a long time.
Again, another necessary item when it comes to preparation of many recipes. This machine is a pro at chopping, grating & pureeing. Because it is bigger than a blender, it is often necessary for large recipes. It is also much safer for pureeing things like hot soup because of the wide vent on the top.
These are vital. They must be sharp in order to make quick work of peeling, slicing & chopping.
This is just a great tool for busy chefs. It lets you fix dinner when you have time & then leave it & forget it. However, an oven can do somewhat of the same job by adjusting time & temperature, but you must make sure the food is tightly sealed so as not to dry out food.
I use a stand mixer but I know they can be pricey too. A hand mixer should do just fine for most mixing jobs.
This is just a totally optional, fun gadget. Do not feel obligated to run out & buy one or think it is necessary for a great culinary experience, but maybe you could ask for it for your birthday:)