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Dan Coudreaut parts ways with McDonald’s

Chain’s long-time executive chef introduced upgraded salads and smoothies

Dan Coudreaut has left his position as executive chef of McDonald’s, where he had worked for 13 years, the company confirmed Wednesday.

“Dan Coudreaut did leave the company several months ago. Our culinary and menu teams continue their work to enhance our core menu as we strive to raise the bar for our customers providing them with new taste experiences regularly. We continue to align or structures against our goals and make changes needed to succeed,” spokesperson for the Oak Brook, Ill.-based chain said via email. 

During Coudreaut’s tenure, McDonald’s upgraded its salads, introducing mainstream America to ingredients such as edamame, as well as lower-calorie wraps, real fruit smoothies and oatmeal.

A 1995 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., Coudreaut spent three years as a chef for the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Then he joined Metromedia Restaurant Group — parent to Bennigan’s, Bonanza, Steak and Ale and other casual dining chains — where he spent four years before joining McDonald’s in 2004 as director of culinary innovation for the quick service chain, which has around 36,000 locations worldwide. 

McDonald’s did not say whether Coudreaut would be replaced or if his duties would be filled by other members of the culinary team. 

In an email, Coudreaut told NRN he was proud of the time he spent at McDonald’s.

“Especially the last three years and the amazing progress we achieved with regards to food quality and turning the business around,” he wrote

He called McDonald’s culinary team “arguably the best in the industry.”

Coudreaut said his next steps were still to be determined.

“One thing I do know, I will remain passionate about great food, whether that is at a five-star hotel or a global icon like McDonald’s," he said. "People everywhere, and at every price point, care more and more about their food. As a chef, so do I.”

Correction: Jan. 25, 2018 This story has been updated with comments from Dan Coudreaut.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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