Chefs create tasting menu for first space tourists -

With an era of space flight tourism almost upon us, astronauts and chefs have teamed up to create a menu suited to the more refined tastes of a rich space-bound elite.

Virgin Galactic is preparing for its maiden voyage and earth’s richest denizens will be demanding cuisine more befitting The Ivy than EasyJet.

Indeed, us mere mortals may be used to purchasing food which appears to have sprung from another planet on short haul flights, but those rich enough to pay for the first tourist forays into space are likely to want something more palatable.

In order to celebrate the National Science & Engineering Week, the first Briton in space, Helen Sharman, along with food scientists at The Robin Collective and space nutrition expert Professor Brian Ratcliffe, have worked to create dishes as appetising as a Heston Blumenthal tasting menu.

Part of the problem with space-food is that the conditions numb taste buds.  With this in mind, the team created a menu which packed a punch with strong flavours. For example, the "Amoon Bouche" is some of the strongest cheeses found on our planet, while Dorset Naga chillis are used in another dish to liven up tastebuds.

Another dish, Pot Roast A Pollo, is a poncier version of what is the closest most earthlings come to space food – the ubiquitous Pot Noodle – and reflects the need for dehydrated food.

Other dishes, such as garlic and chilli caviar, are sure to be a hit with the rich clientele who will make up the first flights.

To wash all of this down the team also concocted a couple of cocktails for inflight entertainment. The Spirulina Caipirinha makes use of the blue green microalgae spirulina which, apparently, is rich in vitamins and a sustainable food source to bring along on space-bound sojourns.

Here comes the recipe.

You will need:

1 Pear

1 Lime

Several mint leaves

½ teaspoon of spirulina

25ml Cachaça

2 desert spoons of Demerara sugar

Optional ingredients

Add spirulina blue dye (for a tropical turquoise colour)

25ml Rum (space drinks should be good and strong)

Tonic (reduce this in a pan over heat to remove fizz and excess water)

Dry ice

Core the pear and cut the lime into 1/8s then mix all ingredients together.

Shake up with ice (or dry ice), strain and serve.

TechEye spoke to Robin Fegen, an "experimental foodie" from The Robin Collective, who said that eating is very important in terms of staying healthy during flight missions.  However, astronausts such as Sharman would just eat "because it was their job", strapping themselves to the table "three times a day".

While Fegen warns against the dehydrating effects of drinking in space, he admits it is likely that the first space tourists will want to have an in flight drink after shelling out for tickets.

“If you are spending all this money then you will probably want a drink on a five hour flight,” he told us.

Apparently, the prohibitive cost of bringing a bootload of booze in place of essential scientific equipment would limit the amount of alcohol consumed.   Furthermore, the thought of projectile vomiting in a zero gravity flight is another reason to go easy on the booze, he says.