A franchisee in a remote part of the country believes he deserves at least one star, maybe even two.

By Mike Pomranz
June 25, 2019
Moses Robinson/Getty Images

If some of the best meals of your life haven’t been at “bad” restaurants and some of the worst meals at “good” restaurants, you don’t eat out enough. Who hasn’t unexpectedly stumbled upon that perfect greasy cheeseburger and sung its praises? Meanwhile, some fancy tasting menus feel built to be irksome and unsatisfying. In the end, the quality of any meal is determined in part by expectations and circumstances — so to account for this, we tend to tease restaurants apart into groups like “praise worthy” and “guilty pleasures.” But the owner of a KFC franchise in Australia is openly asking, “Why?”

Sam Edelman runs a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Alice Springs — a remote town of about 24,000 in Australia’s Northern Territory. He’s suddenly received global recognition for his assertion that his franchise is worthy of a Michelin star. Seriously. “We use fresh chickens that are delivered into the store every day and hand-breaded in our kitchen by our cooks,” he told the Metro UK. “There is some skill involved.”

Of course, “some skill” isn’t quite a harbinger of Michelin status, but later, Edelman uses the guide’s own language to defend his argument. “The criteria for two stars is ‘excellent cooking worth a detour or exceptional cuisine worth a special journey.’ We have people who come to our KFC from 500km or 1000km away,” he continued. “My KFC is the most remote KFC in the world and that’s what sets me apart. I know people make a journey to come to my restaurant… We have done a catering order for a gold mine that was in Western Australia — we’re in the Northern Territory. It was [an] AUS$1000 order. They ordered a private hire car to collect the order and take it straight to the airport. They chucked it on the plane and flew it to the gold mine.”

Edelman also believes he has a bit of precedent on his side. He said he was inspired watching the show Street Food on Netflix profile a Michelin-starred street vendor in Bangkok. “Traditionally I’d always thought that the Michelin star was the peak of fine dining, you have to have a fancy wine list and spectacular dining experience,” he told the Metro. “There was a cut away shot that showed a KFC advertisement in there and it kinda gave me the idea. On a basic level, we meet the criteria. If this street vendor can get the Michelin star why can’t we?”

If you believe that’s more than a rhetorical question, you can support Edelman’s cause through a Facebook group he’s launched called “Kentucky Fried Chicken deserves a Michelin Star.” However, in the end, the biggest obstacle Edelman currently faces has nothing to do with Colonel Sanders whatsoever: Michelin doesn’t publish a guide for anywhere in Australia. Yes, it’s kind of a major detail, but clearly following the status quo isn’t in Edelman’s blood.

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