Cooking is a big hobby of mine and I’ve found quality tools make it a joy rather than a chore. I do tend to also spend a bit more for aesthetics, buts that’s personal. Links may not be cheapest but tried to stick to manufacture sites as much as possible.
That said, I have no training, I think recipes are meant to be guidelines and hardly ever follow any one unless I or my partner has made it through many iterations of preparations.
Santoku chefs knife. Only knife I need except for bread. I have a cheap honing rod and use it before use and a good set of sharpening stones once a year to keep the edge.
Bread knife. Cheap, can’t be sharpened so don’t bother with expensive. My partner looked at me funny when I got it, but it cuts through bread like a hot knife through butter.
Cutting board of my dreams. Sturdy, self healing, keeps knife sharp. Loaded it with oil and then sealed with wax when I got it, now I just oil every so often and it’s as good as new. It is a bit heavy, but my petite partner manages with no issue.
Grinder, would love a Comandante but will wait for this one to break or show signs of aging. I’ve had it for years and very little issues with it (handle comes off sometimes and I reattach it by tightening the small screw to clamp it to the lid). Grind size is consistent enough, better than anything else I’ve used, especially for the price. I work shift work and grind right before brewing, so I didn’t want a loud mechanical grinder.
Brew with the standard v60 and chemex, nothing special here and pretty well known. I prefer the v60, particularly the ceramic for it’s heat retention and it not being plastic.
Yama coffee tower. Yes, it’s absurd for home use, but I adore it and the coffee it makes is divine. I’ve got it mostly dialed for each season. Mixing some of the Brew with sparkling water is great for a summer afternoon.
Electric kettle. Temperature controlled and fast, useful for coffee and tea. Spout isn’t as nice as my Takahiro but the temp control and speed means it gets used far more often.
Wok, used quite often for stir fry and frying. Big enough without being too big for an apartment kitchen.
Insta pot for all slow cooking needs. Pressure helps speed cooking up, it’s incredibly versatile and pretty painless to use and clean. No issues with it, have a large one for bulk cooking and a smaller for more daily use. Only challenge is finding what works for you with recipes. Every one seems to vary how long and at what pressure level to cook things, so some trial and error ends up being part of the process.
Pot for general use. I actually only use this pot, some day I’ll get another but so far I’ve made due with just this. Three ply was the ideal price to performance ratio for my use, though copper or 5ply would probably be luxurious. Used it 2-3 times a day for years and still looks new.
Stock pot. I guess this counts as a second pot, but for obviously different tasks. 8qts is big enough for my partner and I to batch cook curry for a week at a time, which helps when I’m on night shifts. Lower quality metal here, but not an issue since most applications don’t need excellent heat transfer, save mirepoix like prep, but I’m not worried about suboptimal browning.
Food processor, for prep work, salsas, tahini, hummus, nut flours and so many other things. Until I bought a blender I used it for everything, now some of those tasks are shifted, but it was fully capable at most things a blender can do that don’t involve liquids.
Speaking of blenders, this is what I painstakingly settled on after a lot of research and suffering. What I learned is the more premium high end blenders have mostly the same power and ability to blend things. Once you pay the price of admission, you’re set from a utilitarian point of view. The fancier models offer presets that let you push a button and walk away, all of those presets can be accomplished by using manual speeds for certain lengths of time. This has done everything flawlessly for me that I’ve asked of it: smoothies, nut milks, nut butters (with the jar designed for them), flours, nut cheeses, soup, and I’m sure more that I’m not thinking of. Always good consistency, as long as I blend long enough. Yeah, it’s loud, they all are; unless you spend a lot and get the sound insulated model. I live in an apartment and neighbors don’t seem to mind as long as I blend in normal “day walker” hours.
Those the big highlights, I have some other more niche equipment for pasta making/other such tasks and then more general use items if anyone is interested and wants something more specific. I’m happy to answer more detailed questions about anything I posted as well. I know I personally hate researching this stuff, I’m always so conscious of the suffering I feel being lost in a sea of options that all promise to be perfect depending on the blog you land at.
One last note since it’s related to the kitchen, I’ve found the most valuable “tool” for my cooking is fresh spices from a quality seller (there are many on the internet and likely locally as well) with high turnover. Whole spices are best if ground before use. Tasting the difference between fresh spices and even a premium bottle from the grocery is night in day to my senses.