The Culinary Institute of America

Dan Coudreaut, CIA alumni

Spotlight On: Dan CoudreautAssociate Degree in Culinary Arts

Senior Director of Culinary Innovation at McDonald's, U.S.
Class of 1995

As McDonald’s senior director of culinary innovation, Dan Coudreaut is responsible for developing menu items for the more than 13,700 restaurants that comprise the nation’s largest burger chain. In that position, he has 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 CIA's AOS culinary arts program, 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 is helping the creative team of chefs ideate and develop new menus for McDonald’s approximately 14,000 restaurants by brainstorming and testing hundreds of menu items each month. He is charged with making sure the products are on trend: bold, flavorful, and exciting.

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.

Dan sings lead vocals in “Chef Dan and the Appetizers” which is a classic rock band formed by McDonald’s employees in 2008 to raise money for Ronald McDonald Charities.

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