Dan Coudreaut

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Dan Codreaut
Born (1965-11-08) November 8, 1965 (age 51)
Ossining, New York, United States
Other names Chef Dan Coudreaut
Education Culinary Institute of America (CIA) 1995
Occupation Executive chef, McDonald's, 2004-present
Years active 1987-present

Dan Coudreaut (born November 8, 1965), better known to his colleagues as "Chef Dan", has served as the Executive Chef and Vice President of Culinary Innovation at McDonald's since joining the restaurant chain in 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.[1] 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.[2][3]

Culinary Career[edit]

After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, 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 in Dallas, Texas. In 2000, he moved 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 McDonald's in 2004, taking over as Executive Chef from Chef Rene Arend. As Executive 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.


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. In 2006, he received that magazine's Chef/Innovator MenuMasters Award.

He also sang lead vocals in Chef Dan and the Appetizers, a classic rock band formed by McDonald’s employees in 2008 to raise money for Ronald McDonald Charities.[4]

Menu contributions[edit]

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
  • Oatmeal
  • Real Fruit Smoothie beverages
  • Spicy Premium Chicken sandwich


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ "The Challenges for McDonald's Top Chef". Business Week. September 14, 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. 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. 
  4. ^ Dan Coudreaut ’95, Senior Director of Culinary Innovation at McDonald’s U.S. - about Chef Dan Coudreaut - at Food Is Life website

External links[edit]