Yum! In The News
Superfan Spotlight: KFC’s Bentley McBentleson
Published on June 19, 2018
Name: Bentley McBentleson
Location: Louisville, KY
Bentley McBentleson (yes, that’s his real name) now works at KFC, but he was a fan of the brand long before that. As a kid, he would eat Colonel Sanders’ Original Recipe whenever he could. The flavors and the man behind the 11 herbs and spices meant so much to him that as an adult, he even inked a tattoo of the KFC founder on his calf.
“I remember every time I ate KFC as a child and have always thought of it as a celebratory food,” he said, adding, “I think Colonel Sanders is the embodiment of the American dream.”
In 2016, KFC hired McBentleson as an associate digital marketing manager, which grants him an inside look into the brand he so loves. Here is his story.
When did you first encounter KFC? Was it love at first bite?
My first memory of KFC was when I was 5 years old. My father had just come home from a six-month deployment with the U.S. Navy on a submarine. To celebrate the occasion, my mom and I went to the nearest KFC to place our order. The smell of the Colonel’s magic mix of spices filled the car and made my stomach growl. When we put everything on the kitchen table, I was amazed how much food there was. I remember the taste of the gravy, and my favorite, the Cole Slaw. Up until that point, I had only had my grandmother's soggy-cabbage-with-a-splash-of-mayo cole slaw. She's a lovely woman, but she should stay away from the slaw.
What’s your coolest KFC swag?
I have a lot. My most cherished item is probably a first edition copy of Colonel Sanders’ book “My Life as I Know It Has Been Finger Lickin’ Good.” My apartment is also decorated in photographs of KFC menu items that have handwritten notes on them by the talented Natalie Garvey, who’s a KFC US marketing manager. When put in frames, they’re really works of art.
One of the weirdest pieces of KFC swag that I own is a metal ashtray emblazoned with Colonel Sanders’ face and the words “Kentucky Fried Chicken” on it. I purchased it off of Facebook Marketplace for $5 from a guy who wanted to meet in an abandoned department store lot. It was the shiftiest exchange I've ever experienced. And I don't even smoke.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for KFC?
Some of my craziest KFC experiences happened before I even started working here — like getting a Colonel Sanders tattoo on my leg and being interviewed for The Guardian about my love of the Double Down sandwich.
The reason that I have the tattoo is pretty personal. I grew up watching my parents struggle financially. The few times they splurged, they chose KFC. Because of that, “KFC” and “joy” are synonymous to me, not because taking a bite of it physically fills me with happiness, but because it fills me with memories of happy times.
But I didn’t just get the tattoo just because of family memories; I also got it because I admire Colonel Sanders. His life was not an easy one. Having worked since I was 14, I can identify with his work ethic.
As I proceeded throughout my career, I wanted to get a tattoo tied to my roots. I can't think of anything more appropriate than Colonel Sanders with crossed chicken legs and a banner that reads “Original Recipe.”
What’s your favorite thing to order at KFC?
When only eating chicken: an eight-piece of Original Recipe, ideally only thighs
On-the-go: A Crispy Colonel sandwich with our soon-to-arrive-in-restaurant-for-a-limited-time Pickle Fried Chicken sauce!
Flying out of the Louisville International Airport: I get a $10 Chicken Share with tenders and a side of gravy. I pour the gravy over the tenders, so I can bring it through security and eat it on the plane. If you haven't flown in an airplane cabin filled with the delicious scent of 11 herbs and spices, you haven't lived.
As the Colonel once said, “If it’s too early for chicken, drink this and wait until it’s not too early for chicken.”
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