November 8, 1965 |
Ossining, New York, U.S.
|Other names||Chef Dan Coudreaut|
|Education||Culinary Institute of America (CIA). 1995|
|Occupation||Executive chef, McDonald's, 2004-present|
Dan Coudreaut (born November 8, 1965), better known to his colleagues as "Chef Dan", served as the Executive Chef and Vice President of Culinary Innovation at McDonald's, a position which he has served in since joining the reataurant chain since 2004.
Coudreaut started his culinary career washing dishes in a local restaurant in his hometown of Ossining, New York, a town located an hour north of New York City, at the age of 14.  In 1995, he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). He then went to work at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Dallas, Texas. In 2004 he joined McDonald's.
After graduating from the CIA, Coudreaut 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 located in Dallas, Texas. In 2000, he made the move to the world of chain restaurants, joining Metromedia Company’s Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza Family Steakhouse chains as director of culinary product development. He joined McDonal’s in 2004, taking over as Executive Chef from Chef Rene Arend. As Exeuctive Chef, Coudreaut'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.
Coudreaut'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. He also sang 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. 
Coudreaut was responsible for the addition of several items to McDonald's national menu, including:
- Asian and Southwest Chicken Salads
- Angus and Chicken Snack Wraps
- Angus Burger line of sandwiches
- McCafe coffee drinks
- Real Fruit Smoothie beverages
- Spicy Premium Chicken sandwich
Chef Dan also 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 House Charities.
- The most powerful chef in America -- Dan Coudreaut's decisions affect millions of diners -- not to mention the edamame industry, March 20, 2007, by Kevin Pang, staff writer for the Chicago Tribune, accessed 8/15/2014.
- Goodman, Matthew (November 2, 2008). "Dan Coudreaut: the chef with 25m customers". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-08-21. "He began his career washing dishes in a local restaurant when he was 14 and eventually graduated to the kitchens of national chains, including a Four Seasons hotel."
- "The Challenges for McDonald's Top Chef". Business Week. September 14, 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-21. "After earning an associate's degree in business administration and management, he became a sous chef in a French bistro in New York. Returning to school, he trained at the Culinary Institute of America and graduated at the top of his class in 1995. He then moved to Dallas where he worked his way up in fine dining to club chef of the Four Seasons Hotel."
- Dan Coudreaut ’95, Senior Director of Culinary Innovation at McDonald’s U.S. - about Chef Dan Coudreaut - at Food Is Life website