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There's an fairly bloodless profile of McDonald's "Director of Culinary Innovation" Dan Coudreaut in today's Tribune. It's a bit of a blowjob to the C.I.A. grad responsible for the "Snack Wrap" (and the less successful "Hot 'n' Spicy McChicken sandwich"), but there are a few interesting (though unsurprising) tidbits, including this summary of sandwich prototyping:
"Once an idea gains traction (say it's a new sandwich), Coudreaut's team would purchase bread from a local bakery, lettuce and tomatoes from the fresh market, and create a prototype they would call the "gold standard." The challenge then would be to replicate it on a mass production level--so that the sandwich from Coudreaut's test kitchen would taste exactly the same as the sandwich made from a McDonald's in Alaska or Florida."
Reporter Kevin Pang gives Coudreaut some unattributed (and garbled) credit "for evolving the menu that reflect healthier, modern lifestyles" right after revealing the chef's willful ignorance of his employer's two most prominent critics: Eric Fast Food Nation Schlosser and Morgan Supersize Me Spurlock:
"Coudreaut says he has not, and does not plan to read the book or watch the film. 'Our guests are voting,' he says. 'We're serving 2 million more people now than two years ago. Those are the people I listen to.'"