Heston Blumenthal’s cooking might have been described as out of this world, but now the Michelin-starred chef is set to actually work on space food, on a Channel 4 TV show in partnership with NASA.
The programme, provisionally named Heston’s Space Food, will be aired in spring this year. It will follow Blumenthal and his team as he works with the UK Space Agency, the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA to help “revolutionise” the food consumed by astronauts in space, and seek to “push the boundaries” on what it possible, according to the channel.
As part of the show, Blumenthal has been challenged by astronaut Tim Peake – who is currently taking part in a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station ‒ to create seven dishes that would remind Peake of home, offering comforting, nostalgic food that would still contain the necessary nutritional value, fit NASA regulations, and be suitable to be eaten in a zero-gravity environment.
Blumenthal is also set to consider how human bodies react to being in space, and how the physics and chemistry of eating are changed by this unfamiliar environment.
Commenting on the project, Blumenthal said: “When [Peake] set me my mission, I felt a surge of pride to be involved in such a historic moment for both astronomy and gastronomy. Working with the team at the UK Space Agency, ESA and NASA has been a phenomenal experience. We have also worked closely together, creating dishes that will remind [Peake] 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.”
Sara Ramsden, commissioning editor at Channel 4 said: “If humanity is ever to get to Mars and beyond, science needs to turn its attention to the sensory and aesthetic side of nutrition in space. Heston has brought his usual flamboyant creativity to the challenge and created some wonderful dishes.”
The programme will be produced by Thoroughly Modern Media.
Michelin-starred chef Blumenthal operates his flagship restaurant, the three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, alongside the Hinds Head and the Crown pubs, also in Bray, and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at London’s Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel. He also operates the Perfectionists’ Café at Heathrow airport Terminal 2.
He is best-known for his experimental and scientific approach to food, with stand-out dishes including “meat fruit” parfait that is served to look like a clementine, and making ice cream using liquid nitrogen.
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