The Slovenia Times

Third place for Slovenians in astronaut food cup

Science & EducationScience & Technology
The freeze-dried barley dish that Slovenian students made for an astronaut's breakfast in a NASA competition. Photo: BoĊĦtjan Podlogar/STA

Slovenian students have won third place in the NASA HUNCH Culinary Challenge, a competition where students come up with innovative meals for astronauts.

The Slovenian team, the first non-American team in the history of the competition, consisted of two students from BIC Ljubljana, an educational centre offering secondary and tertiary educational programmes in food science, and their mentors.

At this year's competition, students had to prepare a savoury breakfast with at least one vegetable. Contestants also had to follow strict nutritional value rules.

The students from BIC Ljubljana created a dish with barley groats, a Slovenian staple, that they combined with dried pears, walnuts and smoked tofu.

Because of strict customs rules they had to buy all the ingredients in Houston. They had trouble sourcing the smoked tofu in a store, but got the ingredient after asking a grill restaurant to smoke the tofu for them, BIC Ljubljana said.

The contestants had two hours to cook the dish and two hours for the presentation, where they had to demonstrate how they incorporated all the dietary restrictions into the recipe.

The dishes were evaluated by a 23-strong jury of American chefs, NASA food lab employees and an astronaut.

Even though the Slovenian breakfast will not be served in space, which is the reward for the winners, their signatures on the doors of a cabinet will travel to space in one of NASA's future missions.


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