One of the charms of KFC is that it differs wherever you go in the world. In China, its franchises serve soy milk drinks and egg tarts; in India, you’ll find an array of vegetarian fare; in Israel, the fast-food chain developed a milk-flavored soy powder that is substituted as a kosher ingredient for the fried chicken.
In Australia, though, KFC is gourmet — or at least aspires to be.
The owner of the KFC outpost in Alice Springs — located in the vast country’s Northern Territory, halfway between Darwin in the north and Adelaide in the south — thinks the fresh local fare served in his restaurant is worthy of a Michelin star, despite its lack of a wine list and, well, all-around elegance.
“We use fresh chickens that are delivered into the store every day and hand-breaded in our kitchen by our cooks,” Sam Edelman, whose specialty is original recipe, tells Metro.co.UK. “There is some skill involved.”
Edelman has even gone so far as to start a Facebook group for the campaign, “Kentucky Fried Chicken deserves a Michelin Star,” occasionally making videos where he defends his restaurant’s honor and reads testimonials from fans. (Some just write in to say that he looks like a bedraggled Prince Harry.)
The fast-food enthusiast may have a case when you look at the literature. Michelin assesses five criteria when considering restaurants for the guide: using quality products, demonstrating a mastery of flavor and cooking technique, infusing the personality of the chef in the cuisine, offering value for money and maintaining consistency of the product. A two-star restaurant has all of these, and is also deemed “worth the journey.”
Because his KFC is in the middle of nowhere, Edelman believes he easily fits this criteria.
“We have people who travel hundreds of kilometers just to come try our chicken,” he told Metro. And in a Facebook post from June 15, the first mention of his Michelin aspirations, he adds, “We had someone drive over 500 [kilometers, or more than 310 miles] to the Alice store the other day. Maybe we could get a star!”
One hiccup: The Michelin guides don’t currently cover Australia.
So Edelman went to them. KFC flew Edelman to Michelin’s doorstep to prove whether his meat is worth its salt (and seasonings). The chicken enthusiast has been touring Paris and appearing on French television spreading the gospel.
Whether or not he gets the coveted star, he’s instilled some pride the Alice Springs community, which just a few months ago was so plagued with crime that Edelman had to shut his KFC early.
This is not the first time the land Down Under has made international news for its love affair with KFC. In June, a die-hard fan was gifted a bouquet of finger-lickin’-good chicken instead of flowers by her boyfriend as a graduation present.
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