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Heston Blumenthal designs a menu to be eaten in space

Science

15 January 2016

Heston Blumenthal designs a menu to be eaten in space

This spring the first British astronaut in 20 years, Tim Peake, will taste at the European Space Station the seven dishes that the chef of The Fat Duck has specially prepared so that, over the six months the young man will be away from Earth, he will not miss the flavours of home.

How can you serve tea if there is no gravity? Parallel to the reopening of The Fat Duck, Heston Blumenthal insists on working with what he likes: science and cooking. In the past, he had already managed to add hot water for brewing, but he was missing a way to remove the tea bag. Blumenthal and his team designed a system in which a second bag allows them to remove the first bag from the water.

Tim Peake will tell whether it works or not, on 15th December 2015, the British astronaut travelled to the International Space Station, and this spring he will begin the period during which he will taste the seven dishes resulting from Blumenthal's research on the reaction of the human body and food in space. The challenge accepted by the chef also includes another challenge: for the menu to make Peake feel at home. As tea was not enough, the commander of The Fat Duck included traditional English dishes such as a bacon sandwich or Christmas pudding.

"When Tim set me my mission, I felt a surge of pride to be involved in such a historic moment for both astronomy and gastronomy. Imagine telling a young boy that when he grows up he will create food for astronauts to eat in space – it’s a dream I couldn’t even envisage, let alone it coming true!" Blumenthal told the British newspaper The Guardian.

It is not the first time a renowned chef has developed dishes for a space station. In 2006, Alain Ducasse began collaborating with NASA preparing dishes such as Breton lobster or duck confit with caper sauce. This time, the British government involved the chef of the Fat Duck because Peake is the first British astronaut in 20 years. The process in which they both study and exchange ideas for the menu was filmed for a documentary that will air this year, under the title "Heston's Space Food".