Star chef Jose Andres is sending Iberico ham into space

[NEW YORK] Jose Andres has discovered a new frontier for his cooking: space.

The star chef and humanitarian announced that his restaurant company, ThinkFoodGroup, is partnering with Houston-based Axiom Space, which aims to build the first private space station, to create meals that will feed the 4-person crew headed to the International Space Station. The 10-day mission, which was delayed from last November, is now scheduled for sometime after Apr 3 with launch partner SpaceX.

Among the dishes, Andres has planned for space are chicken and mushroom paella and the highly marbled and flavourful "secret" cut of Iberico pork known as secreto de cerdo, served with a sauce of tomatoes, onions, eggplant, and peppers. The astronauts will also take into orbit other quintessential Spanish snacks, including jamon, the smoked sausage salchichon, and Marcona almonds. The collaboration came about from a friendship between Andres and the commander of the mission, Michael Lopez-Alegria-both are Spanish-born.

Details of the deal with Axiom were not disclosed, but Andres will be using some of his own products, including his eponymous olive oil from Casas de Hualdo and La Cala almonds, packaged by famed chef Albert Adria. The food will be thermostabilized to prevent spoilage and make it suitable for space travel.

The project is just one more entry on Andres's nonstop schedule. The chef is currently in Poland, working with his nonprofit World Central Kitchen on the Ukraine border to feed refugees from the war; to date, the nonprofit has served more than 2 million hot meals.

Prior to that, the chef took time to visit one of his investments, Bowery Farming, the largest vertical farming operation in the US Andres plans to use the New Jersey-based company's hydroponic strawberries at his upcoming Manhattan restaurant Zaytinya.

The Spanish chef has been associated with space missions before: In July, Jeff Bezos awarded US$100 million to Andres after the Amazon.com founder returned from his Blue Origin flight. BLOOMBERG

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