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McDonald's Top Chef Names His Top Chefs

Posted by: Michael Arndt on August 11, 2009

I got to hang out in the kitchen with Dan Coudreaut, director of culinary innovation for McDonald’s. Dressed in his chef’s jacket and working at an industrial cook top, he showed me a new recipe. It’s not something you’ll ever see on the McDonald’s menu, he concedes: eggplant (picked that morning from his own garden) in a Thai red curry sauce. But he says the Asian blend of cumin, coriander, cilantro, ginger, and lemongrass might make its way one day into ranch dressing.

Coudreaut also told me his favorite chefs. And hold the snickers: Though he has worked at McDonald’s since 2004 and is guy behind the Snack Wrap and the new 1/3-lb. Angus burger, Coudreaut is a real chef, with degree from the Culinary Institute of America and several years in fine dining before moving into fast food.

Here’s Chef Dan’s Fave Five:

* Daniel Boulud, of New York’s Daniel and DBBG Kitchen & Bar, among others.

* Mario Batali, of Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca in New York, among others.

* Danny Meyer, of Union Square Cafe and the Shake Shack in New York, among others.

* Rick Bayless, of Frontera Grill in Chicago, among others.

* Thomas Keller, of the French Laundry of Napa Valley, Calif., and Per Se of New York, among others.

Reader Comments

Celia Jones

August 11, 2009 5:56 PM

Interesting! I watched the CNBC documentary "Inside the McDonald's Empire": and was completely intrigued by Dan Coudreaut's CIA background and the innovative cooking going on in that kitchen.

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