When ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer leaves for the International Space Station (ISS) at the end of 2021, the LSG Group will ensure that he takes a piece of home with him into space. The catering specialist will supply several “Crew Choice Meals” as a supplement to standard space food. These bonus meals, intended as treats for Maurer and the rest of the crew onboard the ISS, are made sufficiently durable through autoclaving.
“We are delighted to be working with ESA again to make Matthias and his colleagues’ time in space more palatable, and to provide him with a taste of home,” says Jörg Hofmann, Head of Global Culinary Excellence at LSG Group. “The fact that this is our second time catering for astronauts since 2018 shows that our expertise is not only appreciated in the airline industry, but beyond too.”
The project is made possible through the use of autoclaving. It is the only reliable sterilization method using high-pressure steam and is, at the same time, the safest method of all. Autoclaving guarantees both the necessary shelf life of two years as well as the preservation of many of the nutrients, which is particularly important in space food. “Thanks to the technology, we can make complex recipes suitable for everyday use and send culinary delights to the ISS,” says Jörg Hofmann. “Of course, the technology can also be applied for catering on earth to ensure that high-quality dishes have a long shelf life without refrigeration.”
The special feature of the LSG Group’s new space mission is the competition to select the final dishes. Ten restaurateurs from Maurer’s homeland, the Saarland region, will submit a two-course menu from each of their restaurants. These submissions will remain available for public voting on the Saarland Tourist Board’s website until November 7, 2020. A panel of judges will then taste the three dishes with the highest votes on a Saarland Radio television program on November 21, 2020. The winning dishes will be prepared by the LSG Group, autoclaved and flown to the ISS. Next to Tobias Hans, the Minister-President of the Saarland region, Jörg Hofmann will also a member of the jury.
The LSG Group catered for ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst in 2018, providing a semblance of home on the ISS, which is located 400 kilometers above the earth’s surface. You can learn more about the project and autoclaving on the information page of our company’s second space food mission.