When attempting to create something you have had before, whether it be from a restaurant entree or a prepackaged treat, you want to keep in mind that every item started on a small scale and quite possibly in the home kitchen, with few exception. Exceptions being things like cheese puff balls or malt balls that require massive machinery to give it that texture.
Aside from that you can create nearly anything you have had in your home kitchen to some degree. I remember a friend of mine once told me a story of her grandmother, suggesting to the newly married couple, that she should gather menus from their favorite restaurants so that she could read the descriptions of the meals on the menu while attempting to make meals. Brilliant! While the friend to which I am referring, is a very good cook she never went to school for it. By doing as her grandmother suggested though, she could actually duplicate flavor combinations that professional chefs had already predetermined. Now whether she heeded that advice, I do not know.
While consuming something you want to replicate at home you want to remain incredibly conscience of the flavors and elements in the dish. Perhaps take the paper menu home or write down what you taste. Sometimes the list the ingredients right there for you all you have to do is figure out what proportions -- sounds easy but takes practice. You cannot loose confidence, a first try can be a disaster but simply taking a second crack at a dish may nail it. Patience is key here.
Then there is the countless hours of web article and blog searching for someone who has already done it for you -- hopeful me. If that is not the case you are still determined to figure out a recipe or you just want to set the stage for some serious cooking you need equipment.
In terms of equipment to have in the kitchen, its minimal. Your basic pots and pans, bowls and measuring cups, should do. I do suggest a heavy duty mixer if you are going to start making cakes and icings, these do not come out right without one. This thing is a work horse in my kitchen I cannot get by with out it, especially for making cakes.
That is not to say that I have minimal equipment, but I like to think that I abide by Alton Brown's theory that if you have not used in a six month time period you can probably get rid of it rule. Really I don't (shhhhh) but I like to think I do. Where I do not have a tool for every job as he shuns against, I do attempt to get more than one use from each item in my kitchen as he promotes. To go one step further, if I do not have something I want or need I do try to make it (I am a copy cat after all) or figure out what I have that would suit that task. For instance I often need a cookie shape I do not have and so I will simply make the cutter myself, In a half hour or so I have a form and then tons of cookies, uniform shaped! No one is perfect however, I attempted at great length recently to find something else to make ebelskivers and could not do it. I was in a William Sanoma and saw a set up for these things and just had to try them -- had to! Well after burning a muffin tin on the stove and pondered at great length what I would do otherwise with this pan if I did buy it, I came up with nothing. There's always time right…. I bought the pan, one day it will come to me something else to do with the ebelskiver pan other than puff pancakes. think. think. think.