The "no admission" and "staff only" tags outside restaurant kitchens have always made customers wonder about the art and craft that goes into dishing out a perfect meal, complete with sides and sauces.
Now that closely held secret may no longer remain one, as a popular food chain has decided to open the doors of its kitchen to customers in an attempt to feed their curiosity, while others too are ready to do so.
The Kentucky Fried Chicken, the US-based fast food chain, is inviting customers to visit its kitchen in all of its 22 outlets in Kolkata and take a glimpse of the process followed by the chefs to prepare the "finger-licking good" food items.
Customers are being treated to a guided tour of the kitchen to see how our products are stored, cooked and served, said Moksh Chopra, Director Marketing, KFC India.
"The entire process from farm to fork goes through 34 quality checks. When we realized our customers often wonder about the journey of their favourite finger lickin' good chicken, we decided to give customers a glimpse into the behind-the-scene action at our restaurants," he said.
Unlike the 'open kitchen' concept, where the foodies are treated to the smell and sight of the cooking every time, open kitchen tours allow people to walk into their "sanctum sanctorum" once in a while.
It is a fantastic concept that should be adopted by all restaurants, feels Sudeep Poddar, the president of Hotel and Restaurants' Association of Eastern India.
"In fact, I plan to float the 'open kitchen tour idea at our member restaurants. The concept could strengthen the bond we have with our customers," he said.
Aloke Panda, the in-charge of Hatari's flagship joint in the southern part of the city, also found the concept plausible.
"Customer is king. We have to clear their doubts under all circumstances. If anyone wishes to visit our kitchen, we would be more than happy to open the doors to them. We have nothing to hide," he said.
However, not every restaurateur warmed up to the idea of open kitchen tours.
Debaditya Chaudhury, the owner of Chowman, thinks his customers have faith in the quality of food served to them and they do not need to give out invites to visit their kitchen.
"If someone approaches us with a request, we would not mind giving him or her entry to the kitchen. But other than that, we have no plans of opening up our kitchens for tours," he said.
Chaudhury's sentiments were echoed by Nitin Kothari, who owns Mocambo and Peter Cat in the heart of the city.
"I don't think we would allow our clients to visit the kitchen. It is a matter of trust. People know that we would not compromise with the quality. If necessary, we would increase the price of items. Our customers would not mind shelling out more because they know quality comes at a price," he added.