You may remember just a few days ago I published a post giving away $50 in KFC Gift Checks. In that post I mentioned that last week I had the opportunity to fly down to the KFC headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky to attend the KFC Fresh Blogger Trip.

KFCIt was a fun-filled and informative event that I fully enjoyed attending.

While there not only did I connect with a fantastic group of bloggers, but I also had the chance to meet some passionate and interesting people from KFC as well. I learned all about KFCFresh and the impressively charitable nature of Colonel Sanders and KFC.

Colonel SandersI also had a chance to tour the kitchen of a local restaurant as well as attempt to make a batch of Original Recipe Chicken myself in KFC’s corporate headquarters. And that’s not all. We even got to try our hand at cracking the code to the vault that holds the secret recipe to Original Recipe Chicken!

It was such a fantastic event that I’m going to walk you through it all in a series of photos. Some of the photos were taken by me and others by the KFC through Brian Bohannon Photography.

I hopped aboard the plane on Wednesday night and was excited for the short 1 hour and 15 minute trip there. The flight was a little bumpy taking off and landing but there were some beautiful sites outside my window.

Airplane

Once I arrived, I traveled over to the Marriott Louiseville Downtown. I have stayed at Marriotts in the past, and this hotel just blew those away. The lobby was grand and gorgeous and the rooms were nicely decorated with a great attention to detail all the way down to the beautifully scented Bath & Body Works amenities and the paintings depicting horse racing.

Marriott LouisvilleOn the desk in our rooms sat a cute welcome basket full of water and treats which I really appreciated. There was also a great book about Colonel Sanders life and times.

KGCThat evening we went out to dinner at Maker’s Mark Bourbon House & Lounge. We had a really nice party room at the back of the restaurant complete with beautiful fireplace. It was a great time to catch up with people we had met before and to get to know those we hadn’t met yet.

Maker's MarkThe food was fantastic! We had a delicious round of appetizers including: Rock Shrimp Popcorn, a Warm Goat Cheese Skillet (this was a big hit!), Bruschetta, and Beef Carpaccio. I ordered the Smoked Mozzarella Ravioli which was fantastic and I would order again in a minute.

After dinner we retired for a good night’s sleep so we could be up early for a delicious brunch at one of the hotel’s restaurants, BLU Italian Grille. Brunch was incredible! There was such a wide selection of items to choose from and the fruits, pastries, and french toast were divine.

Then it was off to our first stop, a local KFC restaurant.

KFC RestaurantWe headed inside where we donned snazzy hairnets and went back into the kitchen to see how Original Recipe Chicken is prepared.

KFC Blogger TripNext, we headed over to Yum! Headquarters where we spent the rest of our day.

Yum!Our first stop was a chance to look around and learn about the Consumer Testing Research KFC does. It was fascinating and we learned that KFC takes their focus groups very seriously. If only a small portion of the focus group suggests a change to a recipe KFC will take it into consideration and most likely make that change.

KFC Focus GroupThen we headed into the Chef’s Kitchen where we learned all about KFC Fresh. KFC uses only the freshest chicken from Tyson or Pilgrim’s Pride. They are proud of the fact that their chicken is:

  • Delivered Fresh
  • Prepared Fresh
  • Served Fresh

I asked them to define “fresh” and they said it means never frozen, the chicken never drops below 33 degrees. Depending on the demand of the restaurant the chicken is delivered fresh every day to three times a week. It is prepared fresh every day and once the chicken is prepared it only sits out ready to be ordered for a certain amount of time.

We did a lot of tweeting and social media sharing about everything we learned from Corporate Head Chef Bob Das.
KFC Chef's KitchenBy this time we were hungry and we were excited to enjoy a delicious pasta buffet for lunch. While eating we had a Q&A where any questions were answered and we also got to learn all about the KFC training process. It was an informative lunch where we learned a lot.
KFC TrainingWe also learned about the KFC Colonel’s Scholars Mission which has awarded more than $5 million dollars in college scholarships since it’s inception!

Then KFC shared with us their love of helping families reunite. Just recently they reunited an overseas soldier with her daughters and her family and gave the daughters $20,000 college scholarships!

You can watch a video of the reunion here and see why there wasn’t a dry eye in the room!

After we composed ourselves we headed over to the Colonel Sanders Museum which was a fun and interesting look back over the life of Colonel Sanders. We were greeted at the entrance to the museum by an motion-activated animatronic Colonel Sanders who told us some of his life story. There was a nice timeline of his life on the wall and we even got to see the similar pressure cooker to what Colonel Sanders used when he first started making his Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Colonel Sanders MuseumWe also had the chance to see clothing the Colonel Sanders and his wife would have worn when meeting a prospective franchisee as well as his original desk!

Colonel Sanders MuseumKFC then told us that recently a staff member was going through old files and came across an original manuscript written by Colonel Sanders that contains some autobiographical information as well as some never before seen recipes! The book is set to publish in May 2012.

Next up was a stop at the vault that holds the secret recipe for Original Recipe Chicken. They actually gave us the chance to try our hand at cracking the code to the vault!

KFC VaultNone of us were successful, but it sure was fun trying!

Then we went to the Corporate Kitchen where we received another round of training on how to make Original Recipe Chicken and then we had the chance to make a batch ourselves! Jabbering Jessi and I teamed up and it was fun!
KFC KitchenWhile we waited for our chicken to cook we stopped by the KFC Company Store where we did some shopping. I got cute little KFC stuffed animal chickens for Kora and Logan, a Taco Bell hat for Dave because if it was possible he would eat there every day, and I picked myself up a Yum! cup which is perfect for keeping drinks cold.

We worked up an appetite shopping and it was a good thing our chicken was ready! Not only were we treated to our own batch of chicken we had made just minutes before, but we also got to try the KFC Chicken Pot Pie too.
KFC FoodOur chicken came out so crispy, juicy, tender and full of flavor, I was very impressed with our efforts. And the Chicken Pot Pie was amazing! The crust was flaky, buttery, and melted in your mouth while the inside was full of vegetables and fresh pulled chicken. It was a big hit with everyone and I know I’ll be ordering first thing the next time I’m at KFC.

After we ate, it was time to say good-bye but not before we posed for a great group shot of all the bloggers and those from KFC who made the trip possible.

KFC Blogger Trip

Here’s a great recap video of the trip. It gives you a real feel for the fun we had and what we learned:

We had a fantastic time on the KFC Fresh Blogger Trip. I learned so much I didn’t know about KFC. What stood out most was KFC’s high-standards for fresh food and the impressive charitable nature of the founder and the company. It was a informative, delicious, and heart-warming trip and I was glad to be a part of it.

I had such a wonderful time on the trip that I’m excited to host a giveaway for $50 in KFC Gift Checks with 10 Winners! Head over there now to enter to win! Deadline is Monday, March 5th!

Gift Checks providedAs a participant of the KFC Blogger Tour accommodations, meals, transportation, & other gift items were provided. The honest opinions are my own. Photo Credits: Some photos are my own, others were provided by KFC and Brian Bohannon Photography.