Nothing Unhealthy About McDonalds, Says Head Chef

Photo by Toyohara, Flickr

It’ll take more than banana nut oatmeal with fresh blueberries to save McDonald’s image, which is why Daniel Coudreaut, the company’s “senior director of culinary innovation,” is trying his hardest to change that. Last week, the former child actor and Culinary Institute of America graduate faced off against Ohioans at a press event held at a Cleveland inner city Mickey D’s.

Some gems from Coudreaut, as reported by

I don’t see anything on the menu that’s unhealthy.

I feel that if we were to close our doors of all of the McDonald’s tomorrow, the obesity problem would not go away.

If you think McDonald’s is part of the current obesity problem, there are two things you can do — stop eating there, or when you do eat there, select the most healthful offerings and make it clear to the person in charge of the store that you want to see more of them.

I’m sure I could eat a 2,000 calorie meal at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry.

NY Magazine’s Hadley Tomicki jumped all over that last bit, pointing out:

In a way, we guess he’s right. Way back in 2007 our own New York Magazine discovered a meal at Keller’s New York restaurant Per Se was the equivalent of four-and-a-half Big Macs. But at the going rate of $295 (without a toy!), it’s really the kind of meal that you can only have every once in a while.

The name of Coudreaut’s game, Tomicki continues, is moderation.

Coudreaut basically says that McDonald’s isn’t going to kill you, just (duh) don’t eat it all the time, pointing out that most Mickey D’s customers only eat here three times a month, leaving them with 87 meals to navigate without the aid of his yogurt parfaits, salads, and grilled chicken sandwiches.

Before rushing out to take advantage of your one-in-three McDonalds freebies for this month, take a peak at the Vancouver Sun’s nifty “Top 10 unhealthiest items at McDonald’s” slideshow. Despite its 45 grams of fat, the double quarter pounder with cheese only takes 9th place, at 740 calories. The grand prize instead goes to the 32 oz. chocolate triple thick shake at an astounding 1160 calories. (Perspective: Women need about 2,000 calories/day, men about 2,500). Even Per Se’s terrine of Hudson Valley Moulard duck foie gras would be hard pressed to beat that.

More from Smithsonian: Fancy Fast Food, Where Did the Taco Come From?, KFC’s Mascot Problem

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