Servair, the French and African leader in airline catering and a member of gategroup, has been asked by the European Space Agency, to develop a gourmet menu for astronauts on the upcoming Alpha space mission to the ISS (International Space Station) which will take off on April 22, 2021.
France’s Thomas Pesquet will be part of the SpaceX crew in April when he will be embarking on a six month stay on the ISS. Each “gastronaut” on the space mission can take with him celebratory meals that he can share with other members of the expedition. “I’ve been a fan of Servair since the beginning of my career as a pilot with Air France in 2005, so it was an obvious choice for me to call on their culinary and technical know-how to develop this menu,” explains Pesquet.
Throughout the development process, Servair’s Corporate Chef, François Adamski (Bocuse d’or, MOF and twice starred) and the French astronaut worked hand in hand to build a menu that honors the country’s cuisine while echoing childhood memories and Thomas Pesquet’s favorite dishes.
From the ten dishes proposed by the Chef, the astronaut chose:
- Crunchy and creamy small spelt, melting celery and Périgord truffle
- Beef bourguignon, smoked farm breast, mushrooms and small glazed onions
- Crepes flambéed with Grand Marnier and orange zest, Suzette style
To ensure the preservation of taste qualities while guaranteeing their duration through a very long shelf life at room temperature, Servair’s engineers, worked in collaboration with the CTCPA (Technical Center for the Conservation of Agricultural Products) and chose a cutting-edge technology: sterilization in flexible bags to deliver the finished meals.
The real challenge was to develop a ‘gourmet’ product with the constraints of heat treatment but also with reduced sodium and alcohol content, all while delivering a ‘dense’ texture suitable for consumption in weightlessness. Unlike traditional canning, the flexible pouch technique can provide the original flavors with a very long shelf life.
To help Thomas Pesquet choose the recipes he will take with him into space in space, Servair organized a comparative tasting of the dishes prepared in the sterilized, flexible bags a few weeks before.
“For me, it was essential to preserve the flavors of the dishes, whether they were fresh or in sterilized bags.” François Adamski, Servair’s Corporate Chef, said “We work diligently to adjust the seasonings every time until we obtained a product that was very close in taste to its non-space version”.
The results were very much appreciated by Thomas who is now looking forward to sharing his culinary world with the other astronauts.
gategroup is the global leader in airline catering, retail-on-board and hospitality products and services. gategroup provides passengers with superior culinary and retail experiences, leveraging innovation and advanced technology solutions. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, gategroup delivers operational excellence through the most extensive catering network in the aviation industry, serving more than 700 million passengers annually from over 200 operating units in over 60 countries/territories across all continents. In 2019, gategroup reached CHF 4.9 billion in revenues generated by approximately 43,000 employees worldwide. For further information, please visit www.gategroup.com.
This publication contains forward-looking statements and other statements that are not historical facts. The words “believe”, “anticipate”, “plan”, “expect”, “project”, “estimate”, “predict”, “intend”, “target”, “assume”, “may”, “will” “could” and similar expression are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Such statements are made on the basis of assumptions and expectations that we believe to be reasonable as of the date of this publication but may prove to be erroneous and are subject to a variety of significant uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in forward looking statements. Among these factors are changes in overall economic conditions, changes in demand for our products, changes in the demand for, or price of, oil, risk of terrorism, war, geopolitical or other exogenous shocks to the airline sector, risks of increased competition, manufacturing and product development risks, loss of key customers, changes in government regulations, foreign and domestic political and legislative risks, risks associated with foreign operations and foreign currency exchange rates and controls, strikes, embargoes, weather-related risks and other risks and uncertainties. We therefore caution investors and prospective investors against relying on any of these forward-looking statements. We assume no obligation to update forward-looking statements or to update the reasons for which actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements, except as required by law.