McDonald’s is tired of standing in as a synonym for stoppered arteries and soaring obesity. If you don’t like it, don’t eat there, and if you eat there, don’t eat there all the time. That seems to be the gist of the fast-food empire’s new ‘tude, as expressed by its senior director of culinary innovation, Daniel Coudreaut, the dude helping to get oatmeal and blueberries on the breakfast menu and apple slices into Happy Meals. The chef defended McDonald’s menu in a press event in Cleveland last week and Ohio.com reports his defiance and denial that the Golden Arches represents everything wrong with the country’s diet. “I don’t see anything on the menu that’s unhealthy,” Coudreaut noted, oblivious to the 42 grams of fat hitting hearts in the shape of a quarter pounder with cheese. The chef is a fan of having a weekly Big Mac himself, lets his kids eat at McDonald’s once a week, and in the most serious delusion of grandeur, even compares McNuggets to fancy, chef-prepared “forcemeat.” But his biggest faux pas came when he went after Thomas Keller and the French Laundry.
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.
He also wants you to know that just because the chain’s food is hugely popular and consistently affordable doesn’t make it any worse than what today’s swank chefs are trying to sell you on. “I’m sure I could eat a 2,000 calorie meal at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry,” Coudreaut says.
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.