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Union Kitchen

Speeds up the process of launching a successful food business


Date Established 12/2012
Founder Cullen Gilchrist
Headquarters Washington, DC
Press Contact Andrea Chan


Union Kitchen is a company that speeds up the process of launching and scaling a successful food business. Their mission is to build successful food businesses. When a successful food business is built, something wonderful happens. Jobs are created.

They develop wealth in the local economy and in turn, get to celebrate culture, diversity, and vibrancy. Collectively they build the community.

Union Kitchen has worked with over 650 food and beverage businesses since 2012, including over 100 Accelerator members. These businesses have created over $350 million of revenue collectively, opened over 50 storefronts and manufacturing facilities, and created well over 1,000 jobs. Of the companies supported, over 50% are woman- and/or minority-owned.

Union Kitchen is so proud of their community!

Founding Story

It started with a cookie… 
Cullen, his sister, and his friends opened the Blind Dog Cafe in 2012. The Blind Dog Cafe quickly became a popular community gathering spot, known for a great sense of belonging and the best chocolate chip cookies.
The Blind Dog Cookie (still served fresh in their stores) became so popular that they couldn’t keep up with demand! They needed more production space to keep up. They invited our food business friends to join us and we created the first shared commercial kitchen in DC.

While running their cookie company, they noticed that their friends were having a hard time growing. They were so proud that they were starting companies, delighting customers, and bringing excitement and vibrancy to the DC food scene. They had to find a way to help them be successful!
In particular, they noticed the challenges around manufacturing, distribution, and sales. The answer? Pair their expertise in Consumer Packaged Goods through the Accelerator with a manufacturing infrastructure of Kitchen, Distribution, and Retail Stores that lowered the barriers to entry for local businesses.


On Demand Courses
On Demand Courses $100.00

Team Bios

As CEO and Founder of Union Kitchen, Cullen Gilchrist has partnered with food businesses of all sizes to grow and scale their success. Cullen and his team have worked with over 120 exceptional food businesses to connect food founders with the resources, capital, and networks that they need to establish sustainable success. Cullen oversees the operations and management of Union Kitchen’s Accelerator as well as Union Kitchen’s Kitchen, Distribution, and Stores.

Elena is the Vice President at Union Kitchen. In her role, she works closely with food and beverage entrepreneurs to build successful businesses. From refining their concept to raising investment, Elena advises more than 100 packaged goods companies on how to create products that meet market demand, build sustainable business models, and scale effectively. She sits on the board of numerous food and beverage brands.

In her previous roles, Elena advised private companies, nonprofit agencies, and government entities on how to foster entrepreneurship. Rosenblum graduated Cum Laude from the College of William & Mary with a BA in Economics.

As Union Kitchen’s Vice President of Strategy & Operations, Andrew helps set overall company strategy with a data-driven approach to determine the most successful path for both Union Kitchen and accelerator members. He focuses on optimizing an ecosystem of stores, warehouses, and manufacturing facilities so accelerator members scale faster. His work assists accelerator members in understanding consumer trends, refining their products, and gaining broader distribution within the marketplace.

Prior to Union Kitchen, Andrew consulted for Fortune 500 companies across the globe and founded a category-leading beverage brand. He continually relies on his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Dartmouth College for a logical and methodical approach to solving the company’s biggest challenges.



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