Dan Coudreaut '95

Chef Dan Coudreaut joined McDonald’s in August 2004, and currently serves as vice president of culinary innovation, executive chef, for McDonald's USA. In this position, Dan manages day-to-day relationships with McDonald’s multiple suppliers and works with a creative team to develop high-quality menu items for McDonald’s nearly 14,000 U.S. restaurants. He is credited with serving up innovations including Fruit & Maple Oatmeal, Angus Third Pounders, Southwest Salad, Snack Wraps, Premium Chicken Sandwich line, and the Fruit & Walnut Salad. His creative vision has introduced 26 million customers everyday to leading cultural, contemporary and fashionable ingredients and bolder flavors, including edamame, poblano peppers, roasted tomatoes, savory black beans, fire-roasted corn and cilantro-lime glaze.

Dan got his first taste of working in restaurants as a dishwasher when he was just 14 years old.However, before he began to pursue his dream of becoming a chef, he earned an associate’s degree in business administration and management.

When he realized his passion was for the restaurant business, Dan went to work in New York City at Quatorze Bis, a French Bistro.Later, he enrolled at The Culinary Institute of America, where he graduated at the top of his class in 1995. He is still very involved with the school today. After graduation, he worked in several upscale restaurants, including Dallas restaurants Café Pacific as Executive Sous Chef and The Four Seasons Hotel as Club Chef.

In 2000, Dan went to Metromedia Co.’s Ponderosa and Bonanza Family Steakhouse, where he served as the Director of Culinary Product Development. In 2003, he was named one of the top 50 R&D culinarians by Nation’s Restaurant News. In 2006, he was selected by NRN to receive the coveted MenuMasters Chef Innovator Award.Dan has made countless media appearances, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, ABC’s Nightline, TIME magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. (Oak Brook, IL)