About Us

Celebrity Chef Kenny Gilbert returns home to the Jacksonville area with Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen. GUK is a neighborhood-driven local seafood restaurant with BBQ favorites that are both as craveable as they are delicious. Located on the North side of the Intercoastal Waterway Bridge, GUK offers residents of the Fernandina Beach area the ideal spot to grab a seasonal, comforting and delicious meal.

With over 20 years of professional culinary experience, Chef Kenny Gilbert rose to fame in 2010 as one of the fan favorites on season seven of Bravo’s “Top Chef.” Since then, he has cooked for the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King, Stedman Graham, Ava Duverney and Jeff Bezos, just to name a few. Chef Kenny Gilbert began his culinary career in Jacksonville with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and is excited to return - GUK is Chef Kenny Gilbert’s first solo venture with his wife/partner Anna. “I’m excited to be back in the Jacksonville area – besides spending a considerable amount of time working here throughout my career, I am also not far from my family’s roots in St. Augustine which feels good,” said Chef Kenny Gilbert.

Sitting along the shore at Fort Clinch, and sharing the bonds that inevitably come from waiting for a bite on the line, Chef Kenny Gilbert was reminded of catching and cleaning Whiting, Sea Bass, Amber Jack, Red’s and other bounties from the sea. As he sat and cleaned fish with his son and his Uncle, it dawned on him that the area was in need of bringing these fresh catches and memories to the table. These bounties of the sea are brought to your table alongside exceptionally smoked meats and Southern sides, all with the flare and finesse that only Chef Kenny Gilbert can execute. Coupled with the smoked BBQ favorites that gave GUK its popularity, Chef Kenny Gilbert delights the masses with his creations and appeals to every palate.

The interior of GUK evokes old-fashioned meets modern southern. Throughout the space, antique elements and touches are on display, including enameled cooking pots, milk jugs, old railroad signs, reclaimed wood window panes burlap curtains and more. The restaurant has three main sections: GUK Sangria Bar, Muscadine Hall and Datil Pepper Park. The GUK Sangria Bar offers guests a place to relax over a glass of wine and some small bites in the comfort of a love seat or decorative chairs, while Muscadine Hall offers the more traditional table and chair setup. Datil Pepper Park Patio will be open year-round, with a fire pit and heaters in the winter, and will also house a pepper and herb garden which the restaurant will source from.




510 South 8th Street (at Elm Street), Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

Click here for directions!




Express to go Bbq:

11:00AM - 3:00PM

11:00AM - 9:00PM

closed TuesDAY*

*With exceptions to Holidays

We are OPEN on Easter, Mother's Day and Father's Day!


Chef Kenny Gilbert

Chef Kenny Gilbert

cutthroat kitchen s10E1: the full monte cristo


chef kenny on



Episode 1:
House of

Episode 2:
Outside the Lunch Box

Episode 3:
Capitol Grill

Episode 4:
Room Service

Episode 5:
Farm Policy

Episode 6:
Cold War

Episode 7:
Power Lunch

Episode 8:
Foreign Affairs

Episode 9:
Restaurant Wars



Cooking since he could barely reach the kitchen counter at age three, Chef Kenny Gilbert is best known for his appearance on “Top Chef” Season seven, where he displayed big personality and instantly become one of the most likable cheftestants to date.

Born and raised in suburban Cleveland, Kenny’s curiosity for the kitchen started young. His mom noticed how captivated her son was when she cooked or entertained and so in an effort to harness it, began teaching him the basics. Kenny’s father, an avid BBQ man, schooled him in the ways of the grill, including homemade sauces and rubs, presenting him with his very own small Weber at the age of seven. By age 11, Kenny was cooking the entire Thanksgiving dinner solo. In high school, he was cooking for his entire swim team, before and after practice on a portable electric double burner in the locker room. Since cooking had been in Kenny’s blood from day one he enrolled in a local vocational culinary program while in high school.

After high school, Kenny attended The Pennsylvania Culinary Institute where he received a degree in Culinary Arts. Upon graduation, Kenny relocated to Jacksonville, FL, where he joined The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company as an apprentice in the garde manger kitchen of their Amelia Island property. Kenny worked his way up to Chef de Cuisine at the age of 23 at the Ritz, helping to consistently secure the AAA Five Diamond Award for the property throughout his tenure there.

After a two year stint in Naples, FL, opening Caxambas, a members-only fine dining establishment in the Fiddler’s Creek development, Kenny landed in Sea Island, Georgia where he served as Executive Chef, overseeing all four dining concepts at The Lodge Sea Island Golf Resort. During his tenure at The Lodge, Kenny had the opportunity to cook for the G8 summit while President Bush was in office. After Sea Island, Kenny returned to the Ritz-Carlton family, taking the position of Executive Chef at their Jupiter, FL location. It was then onto Telluride, Colorado, where he led the culinary team at The Inn at Lost Creek, one of Conde Nast’s Top 40 Resorts in the US – Kenny would then join the opening team for the new luxury boutique hotel, Capella, under West Paces Hotel Group.

While working in Colorado, Kenny learned of the open casting call for Bravo’s “Top Chef” season seven. He auditioned and made the cut. While he didn’t take home the winning title in DC, he did well in the competition and impressed the judges with his skills and finesse.

After “Top Chef,” Kenny landed back in Jacksonville, FL, where he designed and opened Caribbean-inspired Nippers Beach Grill. Within one year of opening, Folio Magazine awarded Kenny Chef of the Year, and Nippers, Best Caribbean Restaurant. Next up, Kenny made his way to Miami where he served as Corporate Chef for 50 Eggs Restaurant Group and was responsible for organizing and designing the future kitchens and infrastructure for James Beard recognized concepts like Yardbird, Khong River House and Swine. After Miami, Kenny headed back to the turquoise water and sandy beaches of the Caribbean, working as the Executive Chef at Bajan Blue at Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados (the famous internationally themed restaurant grosses over $10 million in sales. Over the years, Kenny has developed a passion for herbs and spices, and has paired that passion with his culinary prowess to create Chef Kenny’s Spice Blends, a line of spice blends with equally big personality. The product line, which includes Jerk Spice, Raging Cajun and Cinnamon Coffee Rub, is used by luxury hotel brands including The Lodge at Sea Island Company and the Omni Amelia Island Hotel and Resort.

Throughout his career, Kenny has traveled the world, staging in some of the top restaurants in Japan, Spain, France and the Caribbean. He has cooked at the James Beard House, participated in wine & food festivals around the country, cooked for the Sports Illustrated Super Bowl party and appeared on the “Today Show,” Jacksonville’s FOX 30 and in the LA Times. Kenny has also recently penned his first book titled, A Chef’s Journal.

With over 20 years of professional experience in the food & beverage industry, Kenny has run just about every area of Food & Beverage Divisions at the AAA Five Diamond and Mobile Five Star levels. His passion for fine dining is complemented by his vast experience across the entire spectrum of the culinary industry. From banquets to pastries, club and restaurant design to bar and lounge concepts, Kenny’s innovative and creative approach to the restaurant and hospitality industries is unmatched.

Contact Us

BY EMAIL: ukteam@undergroundkitchen.co

BY PHONE: (904) 310 -6374

Name *

Our Team


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Click below to download an application and send to ask@chefkennygilbert.com upon completion.

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