Ok so what does the Hudson Valley have in common with like all of McDonalds Restaurants? Is it something more than the many locations where you can get your Big-Mac and your Egg McMuffin? Well, yes, sort of.

Two of the top three Chef's that work in the McDonalds Test Kitchen or Innovation Kitchen graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. One of them even worked in a local Rhinebeck restaurant (The Terrapin) while they were going to school in Hyde Park.

So who are they? According to the McDonalds Corporate website, they are:

  • Chef Chad Schafer, Culinary Institute of America, (CIA) Hyde Park
  • Chef Mike Lingo, Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park
  • Chef Caroline Morris, Johnson & Wales University, Rhode Island. J&W is an awesome and well respected Culinary school and "arch" rivals to the CIA.

Chef Chad Schafer graduated in 2003 and according to his bio, his first gig in a kitchen was at an Applebee's. Could it have been at the one located about 1.5 miles south of the CIA Hyde Park Campus? Anything is possible. Schafer had a hand in developing the Grand Mac, the Mac Jr and the switch to fresh beef from frozen.

Chef Mike Lingo graduated in 2005, and according to his bio, he worked at the Terrapin Restaurant in Hyde Park for one year and four months of his time in Hyde Park. While I was unable to find out any products that he may have had a hand in developing, I did find out what his favorite McDonalds menu item is, the Big Mac. With a bit further research, a October 2018 article in "The Gazette" it looks like:

Lingo recently led McDonald's kitchens in the development of the Signature Crafted Recipes line of sandwiches. He also was involved in the restructuring of the company's chicken supply chain.

He was also a part of the team that helped to make sure all of the products at McDonalds classic burgers would no longer contain artificial preservatives, colors, or added flavors.

Wild, right? You could've been in a grocery checkout line, at the movies or even a concert with one of these people. Now, if you could ask one of the McDonald's Head Chefs or Culinary Team a question, what would you ask them? Bring back the enter your favorite item here?

LOOK: 15 Discontinued McDonald's Menu Items

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