When Seth and I were first married, we spent two consecutive summers in Seattle.
The second summer, I had the job of a lifetime working at Seattle magazine for the summer. I ate my way through the best of the city’s dishes (helllloooo porchetta sandwich from Salumi), explored the nooks and crannies of every downtown street, and got to rub shoulders with amazing people doing inspiring things in the Emerald City.
That is where I first discovered Turntable Kitchen. Owned by husband-and-wife pair Matthew and Kasey, Turntable Kitchen was born out of a love for food and music. Now, their business marries the two, offering three carefully curated vinyl record subscription services that feed the senses. I am so inspired by the duo and their united effort to pursue their passion, cultivate quality experiences, and seek out and share inspiration. To say I’m a big fan is an understatement. (I even interviewed them last year for Seattle magazine’s online site!)
On today’s Talking Shop, the two share their journey to Turntable Kitchen, the learning curves they faced while starting a business, and their own favorite food and music pairing.
Everyone, meet Matthew and Kasey!
Tell us a little about yourselves.
Turntable Kitchen is a small family-owned and operated business, Kasey and I started in our kitchen almost a decade ago now. Over the years the business has evolved in a lot of different ways. On our website, we offer a range of content about our interests in food, coffee, music, travel, and interior design. Importantly we also offer three vinyl record subscription services including one that pairs 3 original, seasonal recipes with an exclusive vinyl record (the Pairings Box); one that pairs artisan roasted coffee with exclusive vinyl records; and a third featuring artists we love covering a record that influenced them in its entirety.
How did Turntable Kitchen get started?
It started as a hobby and a creative outlet for us to share our love for food and music. We lived in a small apartment in San Francisco and we’d write up blog posts about recipes we were exploring at home and the music we thought paired well with the recipe.
What was the biggest learning curve you faced as you started your business?
Projecting future sales can be really challenging. Our first ever physical offering was featured in a few publications and the press meant demand far exceeded our initial production. From time to time we still find ourselves over-producing and under-producing certain product lines.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned as Turntable Kitchen has grown?
Follow your heart and be true to your roots.
What has been your favorite food + musical pairing?
It’s hard to pick a single favorite. It’s really about trying to create a mood and the “right mood” all depends on the people you’re with. With that said, I think our musical pairing featuring Alvvays debut album with an Oven-Friend Chicken Katsu Banh-Mi has aged really well.
What constitutes good taste? What makes an ideal pairing?
Taste is super subjective but the people whose taste I most respect, both in the culinary and music realms, are those people who can both identify trends and also recognize talent even when it doesn’t reflect their own subjective preferences.
What is the best part about running a business as a family?
Back when we first started, before we had readers other than friends and family, Turntable Kitchen was really a vehicle for Kasey and I to share the things we loved with each other. In a lot of ways, that’s still true to this day and continues to be one of the best parts of running this business together.
How do you go about deciding what full-length cover albums you want to be a part of your Sounds Delicious club?
We start by reaching out to the artist we’d like to have involved in the series. We often pick those artists simply because their music excites us. Once we have an artist involved we’re pretty hands-off in terms of which albums they can cover. We just encourage them to pick something fun that means something to them.
How do you find a balance between in- and out-of-office time?
In some ways, we aren’t always great about balance in the sense that it’s not entirely uncommon for us to be working late at night after putting the kids to bed. That’s at least partially a reflection of the fact that work can be fun and we want to keep working. However, we are very good at communicating our limits with one another and suggesting “device-free” evenings where we put all of the electronics away to just hang out, read a book, etc.
How has travel influenced your business?
Travel inspires us in so many ways. When we travel we love to explore the food and music of the region of the areas we’re visiting. I’ll do a deep dive into the music of a given city before visiting and a lot of that research ends up reflected in our featured artists for our vinyl and on our playlists. Similarly, the food we cook in Turntable Kitchen frequently derives from inspiration from dining out and exploring new ingredients, spices, and so forth discovered during our travels.
The Fun Qs:
What is the best movie you’ve seen recently?
We’re not big movie people (Kasey in particular) although we love to binge-watch shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime. For example, we’re huge fans of the show Catastrophe on Netflix. It’s so funny, awkward and real. The last movie I really felt affected by though was probably Strange Negotiations (a documentary about Pedro the Lion’s David Bazan). I really felt like I could relate to it on a number of levels. I’m also a sucker for Marvel movies (although Kasey hasn’t seen any of them).
Favorite Seattle spot?
Renee Erickson’s Walrus & The Carpenter is our go-to for a special occasion but we could eat Delancey’s pizza any day of the week.
What album made you a music lover?
I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember but listening to Radiohead’s OK Computer for the first time probably had the greatest impact on the way I viewed music and my relationship with it. It wasn’t an immediate connection. It felt like the more I listened to it the more I heard and the more I was rewarded as a listener.
What is your desert-island meal?
Fresh seafood (lots of shellfish), a loaf of fresh bread from Tartine bakery, and a cup of pour-over coffee to finish the meal.