Heston Blumenthal, the British chef who made a name as a culinary mad scientist at The Fat Duck, has a new job title: Space Chef. Heston's Space Food, a 90-minute documentary slated for broadcast later this year, "will follow the real scientific adventures of Heston Blumenthal and his team, as they work closely with the UK Space Agency, ESA and NASA and attempt to revolutionise the previously limited world of space food, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the most scientific of ways," UK's Channel 4 announced.
Blumenthal's primary hurdle was to devise meals for British astronaut Tim Peake that were not only consumable at zero gravity, but delicious. The film also documented Blumenthal's efforts to create space food "that would remind Tim of home, helping him combat the emotional impact of his journey." (Spoiler: the film includes footage of the first cup of tea sipped in space.)
In a prepared statement last month, Blumenthal divulged that, "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! Working with the team at the UK Space Agency, ESA and NASA has been a phenomenal experience. Tim and I have also worked closely together, creating dishes that will remind him of home even though he'll be 400km away in Space. The very least I could do was make sure he had a cup of tea and a bacon sarnie."
Peake blasted off on December 15 for a six-month mission on the International Space Station. The astronaut has since figured out how to brew coffee at zero gravity. Meanwhile, American astronauts have been known to have a little fun with NASA rations like brisket, mac & cheese, and string beans with almonds. The U.S. space agency is also engineering a Martian menu.
Here's what Blumenthal had to say a year and a half ago on the subject of how to cook space food: