Triple Michelin star-winning chef Harald Wohlfahrt was appointed to bring fine dining into outer space for astronauts manning the International Space Station (ISS), The Sun reported Monday.
German Wohlfahrt discarded the freeze-dried tubes of paste he said tasted like cat food and replaced them with delicacies such as braised veal cheeks with wild mushrooms, white bean purees, Swabian potato soup and plum compote.
Recognized as one of the greatest chefs in Europe, Wohlfahrt's restaurant in the Black Forest is a magnet for foodies and celebrities the world over.
Astronauts aboard the ISS recently received the first delivery of his culinary offerings which, like their predecessors, still have a shelf life of two years.
The chef, who has cooked for former U.S. President Bill Clinton, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and actress Sophia Loren, had to take into account many factors when drawing up menus for astronauts floating nearly 250 miles above the earth.
Salt accelerates bone loss while extra Vitamin D is needed due to lack of sunlight. A person's sense of taste is diminished in space, too, so the food gets more pepper and other seasonings than it would in his kitchen on earth
The sauces for which he is world famous are strictly off the menu.
"In a weightless environment there were too many risks of a spillage where the sauce could have got into the electrical equipment, with disastrous consequences," Wohlfahrt said.
"We had to remove many obstacles. It was a real challenge but one I enjoyed because I tasted what they had to eat before and I felt sorry for the astronauts. Their food tasted like it should be fed to a cat.
"We canvassed the astronauts and they said they missed 'rustic' cooking from home, so that is what I tried to give them."
Although the galactic grub has to be packed in cans, it is so good it fooled foodies in a blind taste test last year. The tins are heated in ovens on board the ISS.
Astronauts do not have the option of pairing Wohlfahrt's cuisine with one of the over 20,000 bottles of wine in his cellar. Alcohol is strictly forbidden in space, so he sends up iced tea and fruit juices.
"I am told good food motivates astronauts. I hope they enjoy it," he said.