Keeping a restaurant’s menu fresh is a constant challenge for any chef. Now imagine your restaurant is frequented by 26 million people — every day.
That’s the challenge faced by Chef Dan Coudreaut and his team. As director of culinary innovation for McDonald’s USA, Coudreaut is charged with keeping patrons at the 14,000 McDonald’s happy and well-fed by developing new menu items.
Enjoy the Fruit & Walnut Salad? That’s Coudreaut’s handiwork. So is the chicken Snack Wrap and the Southwest Salad. And he’s introduced a bevy of contemporary flavors into menu items, from poblano peppers and roasted tomatoes to savory black beans, fire-roasted corn and cilantro-lime glaze.
A 1995 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Coudreaut worked at upscale restaurants such as Café Pacific in the Four Seasons Hotel in Dallas before serving as director of culinary product development for Metromedia Co.’s Ponderosa and Bonanza Family Steakhouse chains starting in 2000. He came to McDonald’s in 2004.
Also possessing a degree in business administration, Coudreaut is able to blend the merits of taste with the ability to deliver a product that is affordable and marketable.