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When an engineering CEO has a passion for gastronomy, meet Allan Zander

Meet Allan Zander

What is the connection between engineering and gastronomy? Probably none, except for Allan Zander who is the CEO of a software company with a passion for the culinary arts. This passion made him want to know more about the why of traditions, history, and food and less about the how of cooking. That's why he joined the Advanced Studies in Gastronomie (HEG) programme last June, he tells us more.

Can you introduce yourself?
I am a Canadian from Ottawa. I run a group of software companies. One helps banks and insurance companies optimize their transaction environments, one strategically invests and provides management expertise and the third – probably most related to my passion and this course helps restaurants and hotels with their digital customer experience.

What is your professional background?
I am growing my culinary background more and more, but I have degrees in engineering and computer science. I have taken several short courses at Le Cordon Bleu, and I was proud to have recently been part of the Advanced Studies in Gastronomy programme.

Why did you choose the Advanced Studies in Gastronomy (HEG) programme?
I wanted to go beyond just learning a recipe and techniques. I wanted to learn more about why we do the things we do when we cook and less about the how. I believe that the HEG programme opened my eyes to a whole new appreciation of food and culinary demands and gave me the confidence to venture down my own path.

What is your favourite memory?
Gaining an awareness of the whole artistry involved in cheese. What may start as the milk from an animal can go in so many different directions with so many different outcomes but fundamentally starts the same way – it truly is amazing.

What were your expectations?
I wanted to learn more why we are doing what we are doing as culinary enthusiasts and less about how we do it. I knew that understanding the tradition, history, and art behind culinary that my appreciation of food and confidence to experiment with a new technique would grow and this course achieved that.

What did you like the most?
Meeting a whole bunch of very interesting people who came from incredibly diverse backgrounds that all had different expectations out of what they wanted from the course, yet we converged on this course out of a love of food and a lifelong quest to learn more.  

How the HEG programme will help you in your job?
I likely won’t have a direct impact on my job – but I always believe that lifelong learning pays dividends in strange ways. The HEG course reminded me to stop and appreciate tradition and the artistry involved in a solution – whether food on a plate or a technical answer to a problem.  There is an important reason and history that is behind sometimes the things that we do, and feel are important.  We should stop to appreciate and understand that in today’s world of quick answers.

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