Space Food Takes Turn Toward Haute Cuisine

Celebrity chef Alain Ducasse wants to turn outer space into haute-r space.

Meals cooked up by Ducasse were on board a Progress M-58 cargo ship that blasted off Monday for the international space station, France's National Center for Space Studies said Wednesday.

The menu includes caponata, a Sicilian dish made of peppers, tomatoes and zucchini; roasted quails in a wine sauce from France's Madiran region; smooth celery root puree with nutmeg; and rice pudding with preserved fruit.

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Ducasse, who has award-winning restaurants in Paris, New York and Monaco, and chefs from ADF, his consultancy and training department, developed recipes to meet the difficult requirements of dining in space, including zero bacteria.

"To achieve the right result, the chef worked like a sorcerer's apprentice, experimenting with textures, seasoning and cooking," the French space center said. "Some recipes were tested five times before getting it right."

German astronaut Thomas Reiter will be the first to enjoy the meals, which are designed for special occasions, while daily meals are provided by the Russians and Americans, Ducasse's office said.