The astronaut and the chef – a menu out of this world

Visit the kitchen where dishes for Samantha Cristoforetti – the first Italian woman to go to space – were created to eat onboard the ISS

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Let’s debunk a myth: from the sixties to today, no astronaut has ever consumed food in a tablet form. However, it’s also certain that very few people have enjoyed delicious in the outer space. The International Space Station
offers two fixed menus – American and Russian. Every astronaut can call upon so-called “bonus food” – special dishes that work like Proust’s madeleines: they serve as a reminder of home and as moral support for the astronauts.

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A few days after the departure of Samantha Cristoforetti, ESA astronaut and Officer of the Italian Air Force, who left on the ‘Futura’ mission for the Italian Space Agency, we visited Argotec in Turin to find out which bonus food the first Italian woman will take to space.

Chef Stefano Polato created unique dishes and some basics for Samantha – all organic and Slow Food compliant.  Stefano works at Argotec’s Space Food Lab, which started its activity with Luca Parmitano’s mission.

It was the astronaut herself – who will write a diary about her mission – that wanted a focus on food quality. This also conveys a message from space: the importance of eating well and healthily. Expo 2015 thanks her.

 

Giovanni De Faveri

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