This is a very interesting excerpt from an article in Time about Daniel Coudreaut, a CIA trained Chef with Four Seasons experience, whose McDonald’s Director of Culinary Innovation & Menu Management.
“In 2004, Coudreaut arrived at McDonald’s headquarters, a sprawling, bosky campus in Oak Brook, Ill., outside Chicago. His kitchen, which is on the third floor of the main building, is the sort you would see in the back of house at an expense-account restaurant. It features granite countertops (requested by Coudreaut), a giant Wolf range that cost more than most McDonald’s employees make in half a year, and a salamander, a device that professional kitchens use to brown food before serving. (See more about McDonald’s.)
On the day I visited, Coudreaut was experimenting with some very non-McDonald’s ingredients: celery root, broccoli rabe, wild salmon, hazelnuts, candied orange rind. There was a huge pot of veal stock simmering on a back burner of the Wolf. He seemed to want to prove his culinary skills, and he did — he made a delicious lunch — but what does any of this have to do with creating food at a real McDonald’s?
The answer is that every great manufacturing company runs a crazy R&D department, a place where mad scientists get to fiddle with toys and produce one or two breakthroughs a year. Coudreaut and his staff of 16 consider approximately 1,800 ideas for new menu items each year, but only a couple — or in an atypical year, as many as five — make it onto the menu. Few stay permanently.”