Flight of fancy for chef to the jet set

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 August, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 August, 1994, 12:00am

MENTION the name Winfried Brugger and it usually brings to mind the time that the Hilton's off-the-wall executive chef appeared in a newspaper advertisement - to draw from a culinary context - without dressing.

''Forever'', as he remarks somewhat ambitiously, ''looking for new frontiers to challenge'', Brugger is now focusing his creative energies on airline cuisine.

On September 1 he will board a Swissair flight to Zurich and cook dinner for the 16 First Class passengers, using fresh ingredients.

''Everyone knows that the food served on airlines could always do with some improvement,'' says the Austrian chef with the air of the seasoned jet-setter.

He goes on: ''Apart from the fact that everything is pre-cooked and pre-packed, there is a definite lack of the personal touch. Furthermore, people who travel first class are used to eating at the best restaurants on land. So why not in the air as well?'' (We should point out to Brugger's credit that he was giving Keeping Posted the low-down on his latest venture at hip-hot night-spot JJ's while simultaneously being frisked by a wondrously shaped Chinese model sitting by his side.) Brugger explained that his mission to serve food cooked straight out a hot oven like he does in his kitchen has been made easier by the advent of the MD11 aircraft which has a galley with an electric oven.

The recipes used on board will come from The Cutting Edge, the cook book he co-authored with ex-Hilton chefs Franz Kranzfelder and Gerard Dubois. The dishes will be available to first class passengers on Swissair flights out of Hong Kong in September and October.

Relishing his task, Brugger says: ''My aim is to take cooking to new heights.'' At 10,000 metres he'll certainly be doing that.