The Menus Alain Ducasse Prepared For The European Space Agency

Eating in space is not as bad as you may think. Yes, there is dehydrated food and the menu options are limited to nonperishable foods as there are no refrigerators in space. But NASA states that astronauts eat foods that are similar to what they would have eaten during their daily lives on Earth: fruits, nuts, spaghetti, beef, seafood, brownies, and beverages like coffee, tea, juice, fruit, and lemonade. 

While that may sound satisfying for a regular meal, it's a little underwhelming for a special occasion, such as a birthday or a holiday. That's where acclaimed chef Alain Ducasse comes into the proverbial space. The French-born chef, who has restaurants with more Michelin stars than anyone else in 2022, began to prepare food for astronauts 16 years ago. In 2006, the Alain Ducasse Formation created food for the people at the International Space Station, per the European Space Agency (ESA). For the project, Ducasse worked with the ESA and the French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) to create high-end food that could be enjoyed for important events, such as holidays and the arrival of a new crew member to the space station. 

Haute cuisine in space

A chef of Ducasse's caliber is understandably not interested in making dehydrated peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Instead, the meals he prepared for the International Space Station included ingredients like olives, quail, tomatoes, swordfish, and aubergine, according to the ESA

For the Expedition 14 crew in 2006, the entrée menu included Riviera-style swordfish, duck breast confit with capers, shredded chicken Parmentier, spicy chicken with stir-fried Thai vegetables, and quails roasted in Madrian wine, with side dishes of a light puree of celery with a hint of nutmeg, sand carrots with a hint of orange, coriander, and tomato, as well as aubergine and olive dip, according to the ESA. For dessert, options included rice pudding with candied fruit, space "far" (a Brittany tart), semolina cake with dried apricots, and apple fondant pieces.

While the daily routine of those at the International Space Station may include eating standard meals such as macaroni and cheese, at least for those special days they can enjoy the luxurious food from one of the world's top chefs.