News and Updates from 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian

KFC’s secret is out?

KFC’s secret is out

It’s one of the most well-guarded secrets in the country. Held as tightly as nuclear codes and who let the dogs out. What, exactly, are KFC’s 11 original herbs and spices.

The “secret” recipe has been a marketing and advertising gimmick for Kentucky Fried Chicken since nearly the very beginning. So secret that no one outside a very few were ever allowed this precious knowledge – at least, that’s how the legends went. Many people have claimed to have broken the code, revealing the herb and spice lineup to the world. Those that were not debunked have been ignored. KFC has continued to jealously guard the secret through generations.

Until now. Last week rumors surfaced that the nephew of KFC’s famed Colonel Sanders may have “accidentally” revealed the recipe. During a visit with a reporter, Joe Ledington, relative of Harland Sanders, was reviewing a scrapbook with the reporter. Handwritten, on the back of the last will and testament of one of Sanders’ wives, was a recipe for 11 herbs and spices to be added to 2 cups of flour. Ledington told the reporter it was the original recipe, though he later admitted he wasn’t actually sure.

Regardless of Ledington’s protests, the leak made it to the editorial rooms at the Chicago Tribune, where the paper gleefully ran the recipe for all to see. KFC is vociferously denying the recipe is genuine, but fried chicken fans are not buying the excuses. Why would it be contained in the last testament of one of Harland’s deceased wives if it wasn’t authentic?

“Don’t get your hopes up…” KFC warns. The actual handwritten recipe is locked in a safe under two feet of concrete, guarded by video surveillance in the KFC headquarters. Or so the story goes.

So, is it or isn’t it? That’s the question that will live on long after this story gets lost in the news cycle. Meanwhile, it’s a good bet there are some folks in Chicago – and Kentucky – mixing up some herbs and spices and getting ready to batter some chicken. If you’re out there, what time’s dinner?

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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