Chef Dan Coudreaut is the man behind McDonalds turn towards healthier choices like snack wraps and salads. And just in time for summer, the top chef is trying to revamp the drinks menu by introducing smoothies and (gourmet-y) coffee-based drinks to rival your expensive frozen latte drink as part of the McCafe line. Chef Dan (pictured above with Fonzworth Bentley) recently spoke with ESSENCE.com about his latest fruit smoothies and why he thinks a healthy eater has lots of choices at the Mickey D’s. ESSENCE.com: You’re getting ready to introduce fruit smoothies to the McCafe menu. What’s the thinking behind it? CHEF DAN COUDREAUT: This is an evolution of our whole McCafe line so it was always in the plan to get into blended drinks. Smoothies with real fruit, yogurt and ice feel like a perfect start because they help us balance out the menu. ESSENCE.com: And you’re using fresh ingredients? CHEF DAN: The fruit is pureed. We pick it at the peek of ripeness, immediately puree it and put it into an aseptic bag and then it comes into our restaurants. There’s real yogurt and ice and then through our machine it gets blended as soon as you order it. ESSENCE.com: You’ve been leaning towards healthier options at McDonalds. CHEF DAN: We are always looking at our menu and thinking about how to balance it. Do we have balance? I think we do. We have wonderful salads, we have big burgers, we’ve got fries, so now this just helps us with our strategy of variety, moderation and balance. Smoothies fit in really nicely in there. And then the quality of the ingredients and making sure that’s real fruit, you can taste the seeds and the ice — it goes really nicely in there. ESSENCE.com: What does a healthy eater eat at McDonald’s? CHEF DAN: You’re not going to like this answer but, you can eat anything. Honestly, in my opinion there’s no bad food, it’s just bad amounts of food. I think if you went with the fruit yogurt parfait, any of our salads, any of our smoothies. I think the egg McMuffin, for calorie count is a very good product. People don’t realize that we’ll customize a sandwich for you. So if you came in and said, I really like the McChicken but I don’t like the mayonnaise, we’ll take it off for you. ESSENCE.com: What are some of your favorite items on the menu? CHEF DAN: I love the smoothies. I love the Big Mac and the fries. I love the fruit and yogurt parfait. McCafe smoothies and Frappes will be available at McDonalds next month.
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