I love kitchens be it industrial, commercial, hotel, restaurant, home or even that tiny one at a roadside kiosk! I have this keen curiosity to see what is happening behind those closed doors to prepare some delicious food. So recently when we got the invite to attend the KFC Kitchen Tours and sneak inside their kitchen to see how such yummy food is cooked- I was super excited to unravel some closely guarded secrets. Also for such big chains you assume some big machines and rocket science must be involved to dish out food at lightening fast speed with consistent taste every single time! But then I was in for some surprises, not only they have some sophisticated equipment but also innate human involvement.
|Fiery Grilled Chicken|
For the matter of fact I was informed that anyone can walk into any of the 345 KFC kitchens across the country to see how Chefs marinate real chicken pieces in some exotic herbs & spices, hand bread it and fry it fresh in real time. The only condition being you aren’t allowed to carry your mobile phones, bags, watch or any form of jewelry. This claim itself instills lot of trust, that nothing special or for show is done when they are inviting people like me to have a sneak peak!
As I expected we were asked to cover our heads and beards (if any) with a hair net and then wash our hands with soap and hot water and finish it up with a sanitiser – all this is done using handsfree taps to ensure no bacteria is transmitted.
It was heartening to see how KFC has especially taken special measures in India to segregate the veg and non veg section to honor our religious sensibilities. The kitchen not only has dedicated sections with different fryers, utensils but also exclusive workforce and come what may no trespassing is allowed. The kitchen staff has different colored uniforms just to ensure no mingling happens.
I was also impressed with the fact that how the deep freezer area had two door handles- one for the staff working with vegetarian food items and other for the non vegetarian food items. And of course these handles are sanitized lot of times during the day to keep the contamination away. The KFC guys surely know how finicky we Indian can be 😉
This visit has also put my many apprehensions to rest, especially that chicken used at KFC is mutated, lab grown and injected with steroids. To my pleasant surprise, I saw how only 100% real Farm Bred Frozen Chicken pieces were being freshly marinated in their secret spice mix, hand breaded and fried within two minutes to avoid any contamination. The chicken is also cooked at a minimum temperature of 100 degree Celsius to ensure that it is properly cooked and is safe for human consumption. I hope in the times to come they start using Free Range Chicken. But thank God no reconstructed meat was being used. We were also told how only a bird/chicken of specific weight is used for a dish and how each piece of chicken goes through 34 quality checks to ensure only the best reaches our plate.
|Fries, Strawberry Krusher, Chicken Popcorns and very delicious Paneer Zinger|
They source their chicken from some of the most reputed players in the country – mainly Venky’s, Godrej and Suguna and use whole pieces of leg, breast, rib, wings or thigh meat for different dishes on the menu.
I always assumed that their chicken popcorns are made from the wastage or the leftover bits and pieces but was enlightened by their Chief of Food Innovations that whole pieces of boneless chicken are cut down into bite size chunks and some exotic spices are used to make one of their most popular dish.
They use only fresh vegetables for the burgers, wraps etc. No preserved or frozen vegetables are used. Oh if like me you disregarded their Alphonso Burst Krusher on the assumption that fruit preserve or some artificial essence is used then you are in for a surprise – they use only real chunks of Alphonso mangoes, no wonder it is so tasty and refreshing! I still don’t know how calories dense is it, considering tonnes of sugar goes into it 😉
|Fries with different dips, Krushers and Original Crispy Chicken|
It was fascinating to see how well developed and defined their processes are, which leave no scope for goof ups. Having spent some good amount of time in a restaurant kitchen I know it for a fact how easily hygiene standards can be maintained if proper processes are in place.
Honestly I am not a regular at the KFC and this was my visit after a really long time. I was really impressed with all the new products they have added to the menu keeping in mind the Indian palette and if you haven’t tried their Paneer Zinger as yet then you are surely missing something- it was super tasty with a thick slice of Paneer doused in masalas that remind you of Paneer pakoras. We also tried their new OMG Burger which has a disk of Omelette, Molten Cheese and Golden potato hash brown all sandwiched between super soft buns for just Rs. 59.
I love their fiery grilled chicken and once again it was done to perfection, if you enjoy spicy Indian flavors then you will surely relish this. Of course I enjoyed all this and much more while chatting with their Chief Food Innovations and realized how high quality standards are maintained right from procuring the healthiest meat from the farms to the state of the art cooking processes to the brilliant packaging.
This experience was quite an eye opener for me and has put lot of perceived notions to rest! We might perceive and say how industrial or assembly line sorta food they serve but the truth of the matter is lot of love, care and personal attention goes into making that fingerlickin’ fried chicken. It might not be the lowest calorie food you will ever eat, but it sure is hygienic 😉
Here is an advertisement video by KFC which makes the claim of separate Vegetarian and non-vegetarian areas official too.