December 4, 2006 World renowned chef Alain Ducasse runs three gourmet restaurants: Plaza Athénée Restaurant in Paris, Alain Ducasse Restaurant at the Essex House in New York and the famous Louis XV restaurant in Monaco. But this week the French master chef took his meals to an extraordinary new location when his meals were served to the astronauts living on board the International Space Station. Ducasse teamed up with ESA and the French National Centre for Space Studies, CNES, to create special gourmet food that could be used for celebratory meals in space, such as New Year, birthdays and the arrival of a new crew. Thirteen different recipes were available to the resident Expedition 14 crew, with dishes including typical Mediterranean ingredients such as olives, tomatoes, aubergine, quails, red tuna and swordfish.
Packaged in tins, each dish was prepared according to the same stringent hygiene requirements applied to space food provided by the Americans and Russians. All that was required of the crew was to heat the tins in the Station's oven.
Speaking from on board the International Space Station, ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter, who arrived at the Station nearly five months ago, was delighted with the meal. "It was absolutely delicious," said Reiter. "It was a really nice treat for a Sunday evening."
Life on the Space Station is not always easy and something like food can provide the astronauts with a real morale boost. "Food is really something which gives us a break", explained Reiter. "It is something where we find some joy and we are really trying to take some time for our meals."
There was just one thing missing to complete a perfect meal. "We all agreed that we are enjoying this food," Reiter clarified. "But we have no doubt that it would taste much better if we had some wine with it as well!" Alain Ducasse's space menu Main dishes:
EffilochC3A9 de volaille en Parmentier Shredded chicken Parmentier
Dos dE28099espadon faC3A7on Riviera Riviera style swordfish
Thon rouge, citron confit de Menton Red tuna with candied Menton lemon
Volaille C3A9picC3A9e, sautC3A9 de lC3A9gumes C3A0 la ThaC3AF Spicy chicken with stir-fried ThC3A4i vegetables
Cailles rC3B4ties au Madiran Quails roasted in Madrian wine
Magret de canard confit, condiment aux cC3A2pres Duck breast 'confit', with capers
Carottes de sable au goC3BBt dE28099orange et coriandre Sand carrots with a hint of orange and coriander
CC3A9leri rave en dC3A9licate purC3A9e C3A0 la noix de muscade A light puree of celery with a hint of nutmeg
Caponata Tomato, aubergine and olive dip
GC3A2teau de semoule de blC3A9 fine aux abricots secs Semolina cake with dried apricots
Morceaux de pommes fondantes Apple fondant pieces
Far de lE28099espace Space 'far' (a Brittany tart)
Rice pudding aux fruits confits Rice pudding with candied fruit