Crispy KFC chicken. Picture by Rich Townsend Photography.

Last week, the KFC in Umhlanga, north of Durban opened up its kitchen to show us what really happens when they prepare the food on offer at their stores. 

In the kitchen tour we were able to see exactly what goes on behind the scenes before the chicken is sold at the counter. 

Hand-breading of the chicken. Picture by Rich Townsend Photography.

Going in, I wanted to debunk the myths about how the popular fast food restaurant prepares its food.

Key to what I wanted to know, was- how fresh is the chicken, where it is sourced and how much care is taken to make sure that the food is prepared in a sanitary way. 

FRESHNESS

We learnt how the chicken arrives fresh each day and then stored at -10 degrees, before it is thawed out just before it is prepped for frying. Using a trend report of what will likely be the most purchased meals, the cooks make sure that the meat is thawed, cleaned and prepared. 

We were showed how the chicken is hand-breaded by their trained cooks- an extensive process.  

SOURCING

The chicken is sourced locally from South African suppliers and is delivered three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Saturday).

PREPARATION

The chicken is cooked at high temperatures (180 degrees Fahrenheit) to eradicate bacteria, which is one of their standard safety procedures and another is that all other food items are kept in a separate cooler to avoid contamination with the chicken.

The chicken is stored in warm specially marked cabinets at 82 degrees Celsius each with a holding time. Picture by Rich Townsend Photography.

When the chicken has been breaded and fried it is ready to be served to customers. 

When it is ready, it is stored in warm cabinets at 82 degrees Celsius each with a holding time. This temperature ensures food safety and the product stays hot for the customer. 

If the holding time is reached the chicken will not be served to customers and will be discarded responsibly.  

I was satisfied that a restaurant where so many South Africans spend their hard earned money takes extra care in making sure that the food is of good quality. 

Some of the people we were at the tour with got to try out making their favourite meals, while others got their hands dirty, cleaning and breading the chicken.