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In Ohio, the Beacon Journal has a piece about Chef Daniel Coudreaut, senior director of culinary innovation for McDonald’s USA and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), who, it says, "isn’t shy about defending his menu or about the fact that McDonald’s is a corporation interested in making money."

Some excerpts from the piece:

• "When asked whether he feels a responsibility for his company’s role in the current American obesity epidemic, Coudreaut said he feels mostly a responsibility to his own children, a daughter, age 11, and a son, 7, to guide their eating habits and control what they eat. 'I control what goes into their mouths,' he said."

• Coudreaut "pointed out that McDonald’s is not the only restaurant that sells fattening foods. 'I’m sure I could eat a 2,000 calorie meal at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry,' Coudreaut said.
'I feel that if we were to close our doors of all of the McDonald’s tomorrow, the obesity problem would not go away,' he said."

• "To Coudreaut, it’s all about choice, balance and moderation. There are healthful items on the McDonald’s menu — oatmeal, yogurt parfaits, salads, grilled chicken and low-fat milk. But burgers, fries, and milkshakes can all be factored into a healthful diet too, he said."

• "The moral of the story is, if you demand healthful food, McDonald’s will give it to you. As a corporation McDonald’s is interested in making money, so it will sell what sells. And the company is very keen on listening to its customers and letting their preferences help to shape its menu ... Coudreaut said McDonald’s is an active listener. As lifestyles change, so has its menu, if for no other reason than it makes good business sense. Satisfied customers tend to return."

“'Are we perfect? Absolutely not. Are we getting better? Every day,' Coudreaut said."

And, for the record, Coudreaut says that he lets his kids eat at McDonald's once a week on average, and will himself indulge in a Big Mac about once a week.
KC's View:
While regular MNB readers know that I am no fan of McDonald's, I have to admit that I pretty much agree with everything Coudreaut says in the interview. And he's right - it is all about choice, balance and moderation.

That said, I still don;t understand why a McDonald's hamburger isn't as good as an In-N-Out burger. Or a Burgerville burger. Or a Five Guys burger. Fast food doesn't have to be crappy food, and there are plenty of examples of how to raise the level of the category.