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Celebrity chefs create gourmet delights for astronauts

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Paris :Michelin-starred chefs are vying to create Christmas delights for astronauts spending the festive season 400 kilometres away from Earth and their families.

The latest in the pack is London celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal who is crafting delicacies for British astronaut Tim Peake currently on board the International Space Station (ISS).

The first British astronaut to the ISS space station, Peake’s mission began in the middle of this month, and the Christmas and New Year treats include dishes to remind him of home during his six-month stint.

These include Christmas pudding and foreign delights, including Thai chicken curry and Alaskan salmon. Also on the menu is a Sunday roast and a curry.

Blumenthal, who is known for using science in his cooking, said the challenge was to create gravity-defying but delicious food—which for astronauts is usually dry-frozen, dehydrated or thermo-treated.

“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!” he said in remarks published by the the Guardian newspaper.

For New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, American Scott Kelly, the commander of the ISS which is in orbit 400 kilometres (250 miles) from the Earth, drew up the special menus after consultations with crew members.

Alcohol, however, is out for obvious reasons.

“In Europe, we try and get the astronaut and a chef from his or her country to develop dishes,” said Romain Charles, an engineer from the European Space Agency.

The daily fare on the station is more banal and provided by NASA and Roscosmos, the US and Russian space agencies.

PTI