It was Shakespeare who said, "If music be the food of love, play on." This has always resonated with Kasey Hickey.
Kasey and her husband Matt are the creators of Turntable Kitchen, a now-Seattle-based company born in San Francisco that connects music and food. On their site, they feature recipes with local, fresh ingredients, hand-selected "Musical Pairings," album reviews and musings on city life. Above all, they aim to introduce food lovers to music, and vice versa, dishing up a tasty selection of sounds and sustenance.
Turntable Kitchen grew from the couple’s own romantic pairing: Kasey, a food blogger, serendipitously met Matt on a train; the two began dating and most nights, would cook together to the sounds of Matt’s record collection. The two then collaborated on Kasey’s blog, and Turntable Kitchen was born.
“Our two passions—food and music—seemed to meld together perfectly,” Hickey says. “We knew there were many more people out there like us, who love both in equal measure. We wanted to share our discoveries with them: cool up-and-coming artists, interesting ingredients and approachable food. We wanted to create a space where everyone felt like friends—like they were coming over for a dinner party at our house.”
In addition to its online features, Turntable Kitchen offers a subscription service, the Turntable Kitchen Pairings Box, a food and music experience delivered monthly to subscribers’ mailboxes (see the subscription options, including locally-sourced coffee pairings on their shop, the TK Market). Each box contains an exclusive 7'' vinyl record, a digital mixtape, one-to-two "Premium Ingredients," three seasonal recipes and tasting notes.
“The idea is to play, explore and take some of barriers away from making a home-cooked meal that's inventive, impressive, but not crazy complicated,” Hickey says. “I loved our Refined Street Food box from this summer which featured Street-Style Chicken Skewers with North Chinese Style Five Spice and Elote Salad. It's exactly the kind of thing we love to do: put a new spin on something that's inspired by travels, the community we live in, and bold flavors.”
Matt and Kasey Hickey. Photo Credit: Turntable Kitchen
Kasey and Matt work personally with a different artist every month to serve up the exclusive, limited edition 7" vinyl record, and also curate an original digital mixtape for members. It’s a lengthy process: they individually hand-number all of the records, hand-stamp the Tasting Notes and package each box.
“Many of our releases have become coveted collectibles so we cater to serious vinyl collectors, as well as casual music fans,” Hickey says. “We think there's something in it for everyone.”
So why music and food? Why a slice of pizza and a spin of the Local Natives? What is it about the melodious—and delicious—harmony between a tune and a table that makes us want to enter our kitchen and turn up the volume?
“People feel so passionately about food and music,” Hickey says. “They are so core to how we think of our own identities. They play off our senses, compliment each other, and are infinitely intertwined. We really believe that music enhances our experience of eating. Think about what it's like to eat in silence!”
The team is taking the connection even further. Last year, Turntable Kitchen launched a Kickstarter to bring their new product to life: Sounds Delicious, a monthly vinyl club dedicated to cover songs, in which a popular artist covers a landmark album in its entirety.
The two blew past their goal and have since sent their first record off to production; some of the series' featured artists include The Pains of Bring Pure at Heart, Johnathan Rado from Foxygen and Ben Gibbard, a Washington local you may know from such bands like Death Cab for Cutie and the Postal Service.
“Many of our followers and members casually follow one or the other, but we're thrilled that over the years, we've given folks an opportunity to discover artists they may have not otherwise heard of," Hickey says. “And we've given people the inspiration and ingredients to pull together meals that are now on heavy rotation in their homes. We encourage folks to tag their records and meals #turntablekitchen and we love seeing how people are enjoying our products out in the real world.”
And Seattle, for the Hickeys, seems to be the perfect place to see their connection come to life.
“We love the food and music scene in Seattle,” Hickey says. “With three young kids, we don't get out as often as we'd like to see shows, but have snuck off and also been able to discover some great local artists. We recently featured Sloucher in our Pairings Box and Coffee & Vinyl Pairing. Since we moved here, we also started working with Slate Coffee on our Coffee Pairings. We've gotten to know a lot of wonderful people in the food community—bloggers, restaurateurs—and we've loved eating our way through Seattle. We're lucky to live close to Delancey & Essex, Walrus & the Carpenter, Tall Grass Bakery. There's such a vibrant community here.”