Permission from one's spouse to attend an event or go on an outing.
Wolfgang Kern, 40, joined the free-play [chess] tournament Saturday afternoon for a few quick games. He and his wife recently had their first child, so getting out of their Allen home for chess tournaments isn't possible if they are daylong affairs. "I have to get the kitchen pass from my wife to go play, but it's fun."
Tiara M. Ellis, "No-frills tournament just cuts to the chess," The Dallas Morning News, January 25, 2004
My wife's favorite hors d'oeuvre is ceviche made from triggerfish, so it's usually easier for me to get a "kitchen pass" for my next fishing trip if I return home with a couple of trigger fillets in the cooler.
George McKinney, "On the Reef," Pensacola News Journal (Pensacola, FL), October 23, 2003
Upper-Crust executives in the San Francisco Bay area go to Bohemian Grove for their retreat. The Silicon Valley technology crowd's idea of relaxation is the Consumer Electronics Show. And the executives of the real estate- and construction-related industries that support high technology in the valley get their kicks courtesy of the Kitchen Pass Club.
Last week, for example, members of the club were diving in the Red Sea, just the latest in a string of adventures that dates back more than a dozen years and has included race-car driving, off-road motorcycling, fishing and a rodeo, as well as diving.
These are businessmen who grew up in the area when it was still known as the Santa Clara Valley. Their world is less that of lone-wolf entrepreneurs than of social groups engaging in old-fashioned macho hobbies. Many of them are the kind who express politically incorrect attitudes that no longer surface in the boardrooms of their trend-setting clients. Indeed, the Kitchen Pass name, a groaner for outsiders and even some club members nowadays, came from the idea that each member of the all-male club needed permission from his wife to go.
Michael S. Malone, "The Driving, Diving Boys of Silicon Valley," The New York Times, October 11, 1992
I'm not sure about the earliest usage of this phrase. The 1992 Times cite below talks about the Kitchen Pass Club, but the article also mentions that the club was formed in the late 1970s. It doesn't say, however, whether the club used that name from the beginning or switched to it later on.