Coudreaut started his culinary career washing dishes in a local restaurant at the age of 14. In 1995 he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. He then went to work at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Dallas, Texas. In 2004 he joined McDonald's.
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.
- 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."