Sunday, 19 April 2009

Gravy, A Special Investigation. Part 2 of 2

"With me, gravy is a mighty important thing."- Col. Harland Sanders
Just how good did the colonel think his gravy was? Well, he once told prospective franchisee & personal friend Pete Harman owner of the world first KFC franchise this about his gravy:
" This gravy's so good you can throw the chicken away and eat the gravy."

With KFC, when the gravy is good, it's very very good so why is it sometimes not as the Colonel prescribed? Part two will shed some light on the difference between the types of gravy and wonder whether gravy has been a victim of it's own success.

What you are looking at above is the finest example of KFC gravy ever witnessed by man or beast.

In fact the branch that was responsible for producing these particular tubs (Stafford Greyfriars) has sadly been closed.

Great gravy can be readily identified by its rich dark colour and flecks of pepper populating its surface. It should have a smooth texture and should not be able to be described as gloopy. It should be served steaming hot and like Original Recipe (OR) itself should include the three distinct notes, pepper, savoury and dairy and can be tasted much like a fine wine would be but without spitting.

What you are looking at above is a pot of brown.

The product of an object lesson in how not to produce gravy. Gravy like this can be described as gelatinous gloop displaying none of the fine subtle traits of the gravy above.

So, why the difference? every other fine KFC product is replicated perfectly from store to store. Gravy is the only product where (no pun intended) pot luck enters the equation and really can make or break your meal depending which type of gravy you recieve.

What you are looking at is a 'Winston CollectraMatic' one of, if not the most vital pieces of equipment in branch. This machine is responsible for filtering the fryer oil and retrieving all of those concentrated morsels of flavour, this is the machine that allows your chef to add secret recipe to your gravy. From here I'll let staff testimony tell this epic story. . . . .

"I'm a KFC worker in England. Just a quick lesson as to how the gravy is made. . . . . . Firstly there are two types, 1-step or 3-step gravy. The 1-step is a basic mix of powder and water. The 3-step is made up of powder, water and 'crackle' (filtered flour from the main fryer.) The mixture is whisked and cooked in a microwave. Once thickened up it's filtered through a very fine sieve and poured out into tubs."

and another testimonial

"I currently have a job at KFC and I can for sure tell you that it is made from the crackling, and it's made with other fresh ingredients, it's just like homemade, it's better than some powdered stuff like some people are claiming we use. It's real good stuff"

Praise indeed. So, if three step is so much better then why do we have to suffer the ignominy of one step. During a recent visit to HQ I took this question right to the top and Chief Exec Martin Shuker empathised
"You're pushing at an open door"
he said
"It's something i'd like to see in all brances all the time."
The simple and sad fact is this, there isn't enough crackling to go around and it is for this reason that no one branch will serve 3 step gravy 100% of the time. So much gravy is sold that branches run out of the crackling that gives it its delicious flavour. So lets enjoy the three step nectar when it presents itself to us and and lets hope that those boffins in the test kitchen can ameliorate the one step.

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