Shahzad Ahmed / New Delhi
How a school dropout became the original celebrity chef KFC India is all set to celebrate the birthday of the man who started it all – the man who learnt the art of cooking at the age of 6, an age where most of us barely knew how to use the fork. Yes, it’s the birthday of Colonel Harland Sanders – the man with unlimited ambitions, perseverance and undying spirit. Here are some exclusive, lesser-known facts about the man who brought us the world’s tastiest chicken. Jack of all trades, master of one Colonel Sanders had an extremely varied resume before finding success in the fried chicken business in his 60s. He had over 20 different types of jobs. Blacksmith for the railway’s, fireman, amateur obstetrician, trial lawyer, ferryboat captain farmer, steam engine stoker, insurance salesman, tire salesman, army private in Cuba… until he became world’s greatest chicken salesman decades later.Cooking for a cause“For me, money is not everything. I was more interested in doing good & helping people.”, believed Colonel Sanders. Not a surprise then, that in 1935-36, in recognition of Sanders’ midwifery work and food donations, Kentucky governor Ruby Laffoon commissioned Harland Sanders as a “Kentucky Colonel,” the highest title of honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.Do you know Bertha? And how Bertha helped build the KFC story? Bertha is the nickname of Colonel Sanders’ first pressure fryer. In fact, he was one of the first cooks in his time to use a pressure fryer. He spent years tinkering with relief valves, temperatures and recipes and made a breakthrough in 1939 with Bertha. He discovered that frying his chicken with the signature 11 herbs and spices in a pressure fryer gave the taste & consistency he hoped for. Because age is just a number The Colonel didn’t begin franchising his restaurant until 1955, when he was 65 years old. After selling the franchise in 1964, Colonel Sanders remained the company’s symbol. He visited KFC restaurants in his later years, inspecting the quality of the food and sometimes even tossing gravy on the floor if it didn’t meet his high standards!