The Outer Limits of Gastronomy
Alain Ducasse in Space
by Jeff Hoyt
bread and green tomato marmelade
restaurateurs would be happy with an empire of seventeen
top restaurants spread out over three continents, but not
Alain Ducasse. The Frenchman behind Le
Louis XV-Alain Ducasse in Monaco and his eponymous Manhattan
restaurant was not satisfied that his eatery empire was
entirely Earthbound. To fulfill his desire to feed people
throughout the galaxy, he is currently making meals for
a very captive audience: astronauts.
it or not, meals developed by Alain Ducasse Formation can
now be found on the International Space Station in orbit
230 miles above our planet. That means Ducasse’s haute
cuisine is boldly going where no cuisine has gone before.
poultry and vegetables
accordance with the space station’s meal specifications—and
with the goal of making meals taste home-made and not freeze-dried—Ducasse
created thirteen dishes such as caponata, a Sicilian specialty
made of peppers, tomatoes and zucchini flavored with honey
and almonds; roasted quails in Madiran wine sauce; preserved
duck breast with caper condiment; Riviera-style swordfish
steak; spicy poultry with Thai-style sautéed vegetables;
rice pudding with preserved fruit; and smooth celeriac purée
with nutmeg. That sure sounds better than K rations and
Tang. In Ducasse’s worldview, when you give up gravity,
that’s no reason to give up gourmet.
“space certified” dishes are packaged in aluminum
alloy and light manganese boxes which are suitable for heating
in the Russian segment of the International Space Station.
The goal is to create one or two new recipes each year so
that space-goers never get bored with these delicious—and
Ducasse, keep reaching for the stars. What’s next:
a fly-through window?
* Images © ADF/P.DESGRIEUX, 2006