Celebrity chef Darren Simpson (the smug one from the dismal Aussie Ready Steady Cook and The Best in Australia with Ben O’Donoghue and Anna Gare) has received a lot of criticism recently for putting his name to KFC’s new “Signature Range” burgers, and has been labelled quite harshly as a “sell-out” and “laughing stock” by the media and other chefs. In a statement to the Sunday Telegraph, Darren responded by saying “I’m not sure how many of these critics have actually tried my burgers, but I think they should do that before passing judgement.” So here I go…

There are two “cheffed up” Signature Range burgers, smoked bacon & parmesan (100% free range breast fillet, parmesan cheese, cos & iceberg lettuce, smoked bacon and caesar dressing on a sourdough bun) and sweet bbq with caramelised onion (100% free range breast fillet, caramelised onions, cheddar cheese, cos & iceberg lettuce, smoked bacon, mayonnaise and sweet bbq sauce on a sourdough bun). One thing that scares me with limited edition fast food is the introduction of ingredients not normally used by the chain, and not remembering the last time I had caramelised onions at KFC I decided to try the smoked bacon & parmesan burger.

The burger comes in a custom box that feels the need to remind you that “Darren Simpson has worked in top restaurants in both the UK and Australia and is a popular TV chef”. Salivating with anticipation I opened the box…

…and was absolutely horrified by the car crash inside. This thing was such a mess I couldn’t even pick it up – in the end I had to eat it in pieces. I found the main components to be quite tasteless, from the chicken to the “parmesan” and “smoked” bacon. At least the bun tasted ok, and the lettuce tasted like lettuce – although I wonder if two varieties of lettuce in one burger is really necessary? Thankfully the caesar dressing wasn’t too strong. All in all I found this burger to be quite horrible, and I didn’t get further than a few mouthfuls.

Side note: there have been a lot of negative comments posted on my recent McFeast review, saying things like “it’s not a Michelin star restaurant” and “if you don’t like McDonald’s why go there” etc. Let me set the record straight – I enjoy fast food, and I don’t eat it just so I can write a review saying how awful it was. I always tell it like it is, and I don’t expect my burger to be assembled in such a way that I can’t pick it up and eat it. That’s just not good enough, and I’m sure McDonald’s don’t endorse such behaviour. It also helps if you have a sense of humour before you read any of my articles.

Signature Range? After this experience I certainly won’t be seeking Darren Simpson’s autograph. As Sydney chef Dan Hong tweeted, “He was never really a respected chef in the first place, so who cares?”