along with stargazer and auntdot, i don't think that it's a good thing to get into the mindset that you'll be a better cook if you have all the gadgets. there are
things that will help you make a better product, but they are not too many actually. i recommend just picking up things as you need them for a project, but also that you think about it and do some research before purchasing, paying attention to the tiniest details.
as an example, goboenomo mentioned a pastry blender rather than using a fork, although he says that you don't really need one. well, if you want to make a decent pie crust, you do
need one, because a pastry blender will mash less of the flour and shortening together and you'll get a flakier pastry. and if you follow the logic, you'll get a pastry blender made with heavy duty wire, not stamped out metal. the "cutting edge" of the stamped out type is flat, the wire is round. round will mash even less of the flour and shortening together.
to add to what andy m said, not only the stuff on tv is junk, but most of the stuff sold at your local supermarket or target/ walmart is definitely throwing your money away.
if you want to put time and effort into producing a better product, focus on technique rather than gadgets. instead of spending $100 or $200 plus on time-saving appliances or expensive knives, save that money for a single meal in an excellent restaurant in a big city. that experience will make you a much
better chef than any kitchenaid mixer ever will.
developing your palate by experiencing great meals, good technique, attention to detail, understanding ingredients and using quality ingredients are all-important.