The Underground Kitchen brings people together through a shared experience of dining, community, and a sense of occasion. We are experiential storytellers, dedicated to promoting chefs of color, women, and LGBTQ+ individuals in the culinary industry. We believe in the transformative power of food to evoke emotions, memories, and a sense of connection. Our team of skilled chefs and hospitality professionals are committed to weaving together diverse cultural influences with unique locations, sights, and sounds to craft a multi-sensory culinary journey that educates and inspires our guests.
It all started when Micheal and his partner relocated from NYC to Richmond, Virginia. To facilitate meeting neighbors, they started throwing dinner parties - and not just any get-togethers - but over-the-top, best-dishes-out-with-all-the-candles-and-flowers kind of get-togethers. As the parties grew, so did the exploration of the Richmond food scene. Soon, local chefs replaced Micheal in the kitchen and were given free-reign to create whatever struck their fancy. The dinners became a chef’s playground and invitations, coveted.
While there was a lot of talent in Richmond, there were many chefs still to be discovered that weren’t often promoted: chefs of color and women, who made up a large percentage of those in kitchens, but who were very few of those recognized by the industry as a whole.
With that realization, The Underground Kitchen was born - a platform for chefs of color, women, and those in the LGBTQ+ community to be recognized and given a platform to show what they can do to a broader audience as well as a platform to bring people together through a shared experience of fine dining, community, and a sense of occasion. Since its founding in 2012, and prior to the pandemic of 2020, UGK grew to a roving experiential dining company - traveling consistently throughout the East Coast for their public tours and nationwide for their corporate clients - bringing people together at undisclosed locations for a one-night-only dining experiences with some of the best up-and-coming chefs in the industry.
UGK is dedicated to promoting chefs of color, women, and LGBTQ+, who are typically underrepresented in the culinary world – and creating a supportive chef community within our overall community that’s based on teamwork and collaboration. We strive to educate our chefs not just about preparation and presentation, but also about the business of running a restaurant, the value of local sources and partnerships, and the need to constantly evaluate standards to maintain the highest level of excellence.
By shining a light on the unique perspectives and culinary traditions of diverse communities, culinary diversity can lead to a more vibrant and inclusive food culture that celebrates the richness of our differences.