Chef Jessica Foust

“Food is part art and part science, providing a limitless pathway for exploration and creativity.”

How did you get started as a chef?
I started cooking when I was 15 as part of a high school vocational class, and had my first restaurant job in a large hotel/casino when I was 16. I fell in love with the energy of professional kitchens and couldn’t have chosen a more interesting and rewarding career path.

What was your culinary education and experience before coming to McDonald’s?
My greatest education has always been earned working in restaurants. In addition to my 15 years of experience in restaurants, hotels, spas and hospitals, I am a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Johnson & Wales University and completed my dietetic internship at CalPoly San Luis Obispo to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. 

Prior to joining the McDonald’s team, I was a Chef & Registered Dietitian representing ingredient suppliers providing goods to McDonald’s, as well as the top 100 restaurant chains in the country.

What is your food philosophy?
The simplest ingredients can be the most remarkable. A warm, juicy strawberry fresh from the field needs little else to be completely satisfying.

What’s the secret to making a great salad?

It all starts at the farm, where the greens and other ingredients are grown. Check out episode two for more



Finish these sentences:
1. I love being a chef because…
 My heart has always been and will always be in the kitchen.  Food is part art and part science, providing a limitless pathway for exploration and creativity.

2. Being a chef at McDonald’s… I am able to influence the way a lot of people eat when dining with us – more than 25 million customers per day.

3. If I wasn’t a chef, I would probably be… Either an artist or a farmer…maybe both.

What is a day-in-the-life of a chef at McDonald’s?
No two days are the same with my job, which keeps things pretty interesting. I could be in the test kitchens developing new recipes, in restaurants working with crew members to learn new menu items, or reviewing ingredients with suppliers. I learn something new almost every day and enjoy exploring ways to engage others in our food journey.

McDonald’s is making changes to the menu. What are you most excited about?
I’m most excited that we are getting back to basics and doing the simple things right. We are celebrating simple, quality & even seasonal ingredients – Real Butter, Cuties, Baby Kale & Spinach.

What is the most common question you’re asked when people find out you are a chef at McDonald’s?
How often do you eat there? The answer… almost every day.

What would surprise a lot of people to know about McDonald’s culinary team?
The culinary team includes disciplines that complement our chef team, and they do all the heavy lifting to bring our sometimes “crazy ideas” to life. We are a passionate group of foodies, chefs, food technologists, kitchen engineers, nutritionists, business professionals and dreamers.

What's your long-term goal for the McDonald's menu?
Do the basics well, embrace cooking, and bring more simple ingredients to the menu.

What is your favorite McDonald’s menu item?
Reese’s McFlurry with extra Reese’s or Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken… it’s all about balance.

What do you enjoy cooking for your family and friends?
I don’t have one thing I enjoy most, I just enjoy cooking for my family and friends in general. I have a gift for making something out of nothing, and look forward to producing a feast out of what most would consider an empty pantry.

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