Heinz Fischer is not the president of Austria - at least not this Heinz Fischer, an award-winning chef who is experienced at running both kitchens and ultramarathons. 'I think I'm more famous than him around here,' says the Swiss national, who moved to Hong Kong in the late 1980s to work as an executive pastry chef at the Hilton. He then worked at other top kitchens before starting his own pastry and bakery consultancy business in 1998. Sport, like cooking, has always been in Fischer's blood. Growing up in a small village of about 800 people near Zurich, he ran, did gymnastics, and played football and handball. These days, he focuses on running, such as the 100-kilometre Oxfam Trailwalker in Hong Kong (his best time is 18 hours, 45 minutes) and the 79-kilometre Swissalpine Marathon in Davos (10 hours, two minutes). 'Ultramarathon training makes it easier for me to work for long hours,' says Fischer, who worked 26 hours without a break during a culinary competition in Singapore. 'In return, those hours of standing help in ultramarathons.' Only once has his identity been mistaken: while conducting a cooking seminar in China. To prepare for his arrival, a translator had searched the internet and printed out photos and details of the Austrian president. 'When the translator finally met me, he put them away.' You don't want to reveal your age, but how old do you feel? I feel like I'm in my 30s, because physically I can beat a lot of people in their 20s and 30s. I think I'm quite fit. What's a typical day for you like? There are lots of typical days. For the last six to eight months, I've had a lot of whole-day classes, so I started work at 9am and it could be non-stop 'til 11pm. At the moment I don't have a lot of classes, so I do a lot of paperwork and preparation. Sometimes I work weekends, although I try not to work on Sunday because that's my training day. Do you try to run every day? No. My standard training week is to have a long run at the weekend of 20 to 25 kilometres, or, if I'm training for a long race, more than 30 kilometres. I run twice during the week, so my total weekly mileage is 40 to 50 kilometres. But I also do what most people in the office don't: when I work I usually stand and walk for the whole day, which is low-level endurance training. So, every day I do some training. You ran the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town and visited wineries in Stellenbosch afterwards. Do you enjoy mixing both passions on a trip? Well, I normally mix several things at once. Basically, I'm never off work. Wherever I go, I'm always looking around to find an interesting hotel or shop or market or ingredient to get some ideas. I try to do some running, and also to see if there's any social life. I always try to include different spectrums. Otherwise, if you go to some place, run, stay in a hotel and leave, you don't get a very good feeling of the place as a whole. Which is your favourite city and why? To some extent, it's Hong Kong. It's good for business, for its location within Asia, and its social life is very active. Obviously, what's missing is some space and some clean air, but you can get that at the country parks. Within Asia, Hong Kong is probably No 1 by far. There are no other cities that have this kind of variety. As a contrast, I also like Switzerland; I like my village, which is very open and green. The trails there are almost unlimited; it depends on how long you want to go. Which is tougher: a long day in the kitchen or doing an ultramarathon? Physically, of course, it's the ultramarathon. But the kitchen can be really tough mentally, especially if you are doing a banquet or a seminar. With an ultramarathon, if it really doesn't work, you can stop and there are no big consequences. Maybe your friends will say: 'Oh you gave up so early.' But in the kitchen you cannot say: 'Sorry guys, something has gone wrong, you can go home and come back tomorrow.' On the other hand, I've worked in the kitchen for so many years and am very experienced, so that makes things a lot easier. If I were to do the same intensity of running as I do in the kitchen, maybe running would get a bit easier.