AT the prominent Swiss hotel school of Les Roche, more than 50 per cent of student intake is Asian. The well-regarded hospitality institute teaches in English, making it particularly attractive to students from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia - not to mention England - who want the very best but whose lack of proficiency in French or German prevents them from going to other Swiss culinary schools. Hong Kongers who want a career in the hospitality industry know that a degree or diploma from a Swiss institution will help launch them on a promising start. Standards are high; excellence is expected to be the norm. The chairman of the Hong Kong Chef's Association, Fritz Gross, is typical of the younger generation of Swiss hoteliers who have helped raise the standard of local hotels to be envy of the world. Trails were blazed years before by another generation of hoteliers from the alps. When Felix Bieger arrived 40 years ago to begin work at The Peninsula, there were already a core of Swiss hoteliers and chefs in Hong Kong. Today, that awesome 'Mountain Mafia' as they are jokingly referred to by colleagues still dominate the industry. Their contribution to the Hong Kong tourist industry is immense. The avuncular Felix Bieger (after whom the penthouse restaurant at the new Peninsula tower is named) was general manager at the hotel. He was also an effective and outspoken chairman of the Hong Kong Hotels Association for several years. This imposing father figure of the hotel industry has personally honed scores of professional hoteliers. Others have been trained by the dozens of senior Swiss who have managed various sectors of the hospitality industry over recent years. These include professionals like Fritz Sommerau, catering manager of the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club, and Ruth Hung-von Siebenthal, who teaches hospitality management at the Hong Kong Technical College at Chai Wan.