And for the cooking side of things, a good set of sharp knives, of course. This is predominant. Always take knives seriously and always look for a better set. Most sets, if they are worth their salt, will come with a knife block and a sharpening steel.
Look for knives that are high carbon to ensure its durability and stainless steel to resist rust. Take care of your knife after you use it. Make sure it stays sharp and clean. Give it a quick sharpen before each use. A knife steel is good for this. To properly use the steel, place its tip on the cutting board. Slide the knife down its side at a 20-degree angle. Then turn the knife around and do the other side. And give it a thorough sharpening at least once a year. The knife block is a safe storage for the knives. They come in all kinds, but are always imperative. Use them!