Major: Culinary Arts
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Formerly McDonald’s senior director of culinary innovation, a position he held for 13 years, Dan Coudreaut was responsible for developing menu items for the more than 13,700 restaurants that comprise the nation’s largest burger chain. In that position, he introduced a host of innovative new items to customers, including the popular line of Premium Chicken Sandwiches, creative salad variations such as the Asian Chicken Salad, the Angus Burger line of sandwiches, McCafe coffee drinks, breakfast oatmeal options, the Egg White Delight McMuffin, and Real Fruit Smoothie beverages.
A number of valuable experiences helped foster Dan’s creativity. After graduating from The Culinary Institute of America, he was hired as executive sous chef at Café Pacific before moving on to become the club chef at The Four Seasons Hotel, both of which are in Dallas, TX. In 2000, he made the move to the world of chain restaurants, joining Metromedia Company’s Ponderosa and Bonanza Family Steakhouse chains as director of culinary product development. He joined McDonald’s in 2004. Dan’s main responsibility was helping the creative team of chefs ideate and develop new menus for McDonald’s restaurants by brainstorming and testing hundreds of menu items each month. He is especially proud of, “the amazing progress we achieved with regards to food quality and turning the business around.”
Dan’s accomplishments have been recognized through many honors and accolades throughout his career, including being listed among the NRN 50:R&D Culinarians by Nation’s Restaurant News in 2003 and in 2006, he received that magazine’s Chef/Innovator MenuMasters Award.