A few weeks ago I took a quick trip to Louisville, KY. And by quick I do mean quick. I was in the air or on the ground for about 27 hours. Quick.
The trip couldn’t have come at a better time. I was knee deep in writing before the trip. I made a decision not to haul my laptop on the trip, which was a good decision since I needed some time to decompress. Before I left I was also scrambling to keep up with the kids’ and their activities as usual. And not sleeping well. I needed a break. STAT.
I was asked to fly to Louisville as part of a blogger trip. About 15 of us were invited to learn all about KFC. Now, you should know that I have a long history with KFC.
- My earliest memories of eating out with my family are at restaurants near our home in New Jersey. One of the restaurants was Kentucky Fried Chicken.
- We emigrated to the U.S. from England when I was 4, then returned to England for good when I was 11.
- I have eaten at a couple of KFCs in the U.K., as well. Mmmmm.
- Another more recent memory of KFC was my honeymoon to Nova Scotia, Canada. While touring Nova Scotia and after yet another long day of driving, we headed back to our motel room with a KFC meal to go. I’m telling you that meal was what we needed — a reminder of home…and tasty too. Note to anyone planning a honeymoon in a destination other than a beach resort: Taking a two-week driving tour of ANYWHERE is not relaxing!
- I remember eating at a KFC in Gaithersburg, MD, that had the oddest drive through. You ordered from the menu/voice box as usual, but your bagged food was lowered to car level on a “Vittel-Vayer.” Kind of like those “dumb waiters” you see in old houses, where the lady of the house would lower her breakfast tray to the kitchen staff in the basement. I bet the family in Downton Abbey have a dumbwaiter! The restaurant was in a location that was on two levels. You never saw a KFC worker. It was odd, but very fun and unique.
But back to my trip to KFC HQ in Louisville. KFCs hosted a dinner in our honor at a local restaurant — Maker’s Mark. While I didn’t have a bourbon to drink, my steak had a bourbon glaze. I thought it was funny that we weren’t served chicken! I knew we would get to try some chicken the next day.
First thing the next morning, we hopped aboard a bus and visited a local KFC restaurant. One by one we were taken in small groups to the kitchen to watch a veteran KFC chef cook the chicken. I don’t remember his name, but he made that chicken with military precision. He was knowledgeable about the process for cooking and clearly was a devoted employee. He prepared it fresh, too.
One thing I must tell you about KFC…it’s all fresh.
- The chicken arrives fresh, not frozen, at each restaurant each day.
- The Secret Herbs and Spices Recipe for Original Recipe Chicken is prepared at two spice factories before being transported to a third spice factory.
- The two parts of the recipe are then mixed at this third spice factory to form the Secret Herbs and Spices Recipe that is used for the Original Recipe Chicken.
- None of the three factories know the secret recipe. The air of mystery is thick at KFC!
- The chef mixes the Secret Herbs and Spices Recipe by hand, combining it with other ingredients, sifting several times until the consistency is just right.
- The chefs at all restaurants use a “7 count.” The chicken is drained from the water for 7 seconds, etc.
- Each piece of Original Recipe Chicken is breaded by hand, placed on a tray by hand, cooked, and then served. See photo above for details. No robots here. And no microwaves either. I would say my lasting impression of KFC is that of fresh food prepared for customers. I’m a long-time KFC customer, but definitely learned more about this brand on my trip.
- I was very impressed by how well the restaurants were operated. No short cuts or quick fixes.
Once our local restaurant tour drew to a close I wondered if we would head to the KFC HQ next. I was right. While at the KFC HQ, we were shown the tasting room. If you are local to Louisville, you can sign up to be a taster for KFC.
Next stop was the test kitchen. The KFC head chef talked to us about the recipes, the food, and KFC’s commitment to fresh chicken and other fresh ingredients for their menu items. He gave us a little history about KFC and Colonel Harlan Sanders.
Later in the day we stopped by the on-site Museum in honor of all things KFC. We even saw Colonel Sanders’ desk.
I returned to the test kitchen later in day, to cook a batch of Original Recipe Chicken. I’m not a great cook, so it was a treat to cook from scratch by breading the chicken in the Secret Herbs and Spices Recipe and placing it on a baking tray just like I had seen at the KFC local restaurant in the morning. I even wore an apron, gloves, and a super attractive hairnet!
It was a treat and much appreciated after our jam-packed-with-activities-and-information day at the KFC HQ to be able to eat the Original Recipe Chicken that I actually cooked in the KFC Testing Kitchen. Chicken has never tasted so good!
We also tried one of the new Pot Pies. I’d had pot pie before, but this was a re-tooled version with a crust that looked like Grandma had baked it from scratch. I can’t wait to take my family in to try these pies! The Chicken Pot Pie is available in the U.S. for $3.99. Check your local restaurants for availability as some restaurants carry dishes specific to their region.
Our KFC hosts were kind enough to let me take home a souvenir for each of my family members. My husband loved his Pizza Hit denim ballcap. Did you know that KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell are all part of the Yum!? I knew that some KFCs shared space with Taco Bell or Pizza Hut, but didn’t know there were part of the same company.
My KFC hosts also gave me gifts for you…my readers! That’s right in the coming weeks I will be hosting a series of giveaways for KFC Gift Certificates. I left with a bundle of KFC $5 bills, so stay tuned for opportunities to win a meal for your family at KFC from my blog — Musings from Me on Kids, Preteens, and Teens: Seizing Family Time!
Before I go…you must watch this video. KFC surprised an Air Force officer and her daughters at a KFC that I have eaten at! Remember the restaurant with the “Vittel-Vayer?! Well, this reunion takes place at that Gaithersburg, MD, KFC! As part of KFC’s philanthropic outreach, KFC orchestrated a reunion for an Air Force officer stationed in the war zone with her twin daughters back home. The reunion is heart-warming, and just one example of how KFC gives back to the community. KFC also holds an annual scholarship program for high school seniors.
I was invited to visit KFC HQ, in Louisville, KY, as part of a blogger outreach trip. I was compensated for my time, travel, and hotel. The views expressed in this post are my own. I follow the tenets of Blog With Integrity.
Love KFC – and it sounds like a really great company!
I love your KFC abroad stories. Living in Spain for so long, when I got really homesick we’d drive to Cadiz to hit the KFC there. I was overjoyed that it tasted JUST LIKE HOME and the bonus, you could get beer with your chicken. BOOM!
I love KFC’s mashed potatoes. They are a bit too good!
KFC is one of my favorite places to eat. This was a fun read, especially about your history with KFC and how fresh the food is. Looking forward to the giveaways.
It was such a fun and great trip. It was good seeing you there.