Serious tools for the everyday cook. Capital Kitchen offers a selection of cookware and gadgets to equip and beautify your kitchen.
Downtown Spotlight with Jess Turner, Owner of Capital Kitchen
Tell us about yourself.
I live in Montpelier with my lovely college-sweetheart-husband and our amazing almost-six-year-old daughter. I love reading, cooking, reading about cooking, and sewing. We are a crafty family and all three of us really love making things. From quilts to sculptures to paintings to six-layer cakes, there's always something being made in our home. It's the kind of home I grew up in; I was raised on a small farm in Maine and my parents grew/raised everything we ate. My mom sewed our clothes and my Dad built our house. I was raised to believe that there is so much beauty in making something yourself. It's what I love the most about cooking - talking something raw and turning it into something beautiful.
Why did you open Capital Kitchen?
Well, I went to school for journalism and I worked in newspapers, magazines and television for years until I finally admitted to myself that I didn't really enjoy it. I'm one of those idealists who really believes that you can adore what you do every day so I spent a long time figuring out what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to create something for myself. I wanted to be my own boss. We had lived in Montpelier for about five years and I was just in love with this downtown, with this community. I wanted to really be a part of it. And I was just starting to nurture my passion for food and cooking and I loved visiting other kitchen stores! It all just made sense for me. I had worked part time at Montpelier's previous kitchen store, Mise en Place, and I was negotiating buying that store when the owner wanted to retire. Unfortunately the pieces didn't come together for the sale, so I kept planning for another year or so and when that store closed, I made my move!
What makes your store special?
My hope is that what makes it special for this community is the same thing that makes it special for me: that every single time I walk into Capital Kitchen I feel joy. It's a happy place, full of bright color and beautiful, well-designed tools. I never want it to feel intimidating or "too fancy," because that's not me, that's not the way I live. I think my tagline "serious tools for the everyday cook" is very sincere. I'm not a classically trained chef, I'm a really good home cook, so I want my store to be filled with tools that you can really use at home. And I want those tools to be beautiful and sometimes come in crazy colors! Function and beauty are both really important to me when it comes to design. When customers come into my store and say things like, "this is MY toy store" or "this is MY candy store" I get really excited because it means that what I've built is bringing them joy.
Can you reflect on celebrating your 10th birthday?
I can't believe it's been ten years!! And I can't believe how many things (personally and professionally) can happen in the span of a decade. When I think about these past ten years, it's all about love for this community. This community has welcomed me so warmly and has shown me so much love and support for all of these years. That's why my store exists. It's as simple as that. Every time someone comes into my store, they are making a choice. They're making a choice to reject Amazon and big box stores because they're choosing to invest in their own downtown community, in independent brick and mortar. To me, that is a powerful thing. I would not be here today if the people of this community didn't make that choice, and when I reflect on my 10th birthday, it is with profound gratitude.
What's your favorite thing to cook or bake?
For cooking, probably soups and stews. I love the practice of building flavor from the ground up, developing flavor in stages. I make a really good wild rice mushroom soup and chicken stew with dumplings is another favorite. For baking, definitely cakes. It's so fun to experiment with flavor combinations and I love assembling everything in layers! Chocolate cake with Nutella buttercream has been frequently requested in my family. Recently I made a coconut cake with passionfruit curd after I asked my friend to come up with her "dream dessert." I was pretty proud of it! I love the challenge of taking requests!