This Is The Only Kentucky Fried Chicken That Serves House-Made Flan
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
There are more than 21,000 Kentucky Fried Chicken locations across more than 130 countries. Among all those many thousands, we know of only one that serves house-made flan.
DAN YAGODA: I ate the flan, and it was just so good that I went to my dad and said, I think we can sell this flan.
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
That's Dan Yagoda, second-generation owner of a KFC in Hialeah, Fla., in the Miami area. When Yagoda was 23, he went to work in the kitchen alongside then-head chef Baldomero Gonzalez.
YAGODA: He was older, but he was a sous chef in Cuba.
SHAPIRO: Gonzalez immigrated to the U.S. and began cooking for KFC in the 1960s. And every morning, he would make food for the rest of the staff, including stuff that wasn't on the menu.
YAGODA: He would make arroz con pollo, chicken fricassee, different kinds of homemade lunches from the products that we had. Every once in a while, he would make flan for dessert.
KELLY: Now, instead of baking that flan in an oven, Gonzalez used a massive pressure cooker meant for frying chicken. Turns out, the pressure cooker's even heat makes the dessert firm and silky before it is topped off with homemade caramel sauce.
CLAUDIA BOVEA: Oh, my God. It's delicious. It's the best flan ever. Not because I work there, or anything like that. But it is the best flan, ever. And a lot of customers say so, you know? Sometimes they go in there just to buy flans. I'm like, excuse me, you going to buy any chicken? No Kentucky Fried Chicken. They're like, no, I just want the flan.
SHAPIRO: Claudia Bovea is the general manager of the flan-famous KFC, and she has worked with multiple head chefs over the years. She says Chef Gonzalez passed his recipe to Isaac Carerra. Carerra then shared it with Blanca Ortiz, as Bovea explains.
BOVEA: He started laughing, saying, you want to try our Cuban flan, Cuban flan? And she's like, well, I can make flan. He goes, not like this one.
KELLY: Ortiz now works part time, but she cooked the flan at KFC for more than 30 years. She was the first to write the recipe down on paper. The original didn't call for measurements. Everything was added by eye, including a closely guarded secret ingredient. In order to keep the flan on the menu, the restaurant had to share the recipe with KFC's corporate owner, Yum Brands. According to the Miami Herald, which first alerted us to this story, when Yum Brands bought KFC, they gave this franchise a special exception to keep making its famous flan. Owner Dan Yagoda says it's popular with the corporate bosses, too.
YAGODA: I mean, when people from KFC come and visit us, almost always, they take some home with them.
SHAPIRO: They're not the only ones. Floridians come from all over just for the flan.
YAGODA: We have people that bring their own containers, and we cut the whole flan for them and they take the whole flan home, which is eight servings. That probably would feed 16 people.
KELLY: So if you are a fan of flan, hie thee to Hialeah, and maybe pack a Tupperware or two. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.