Top orbiting chef

By Phil Plait | August 28, 2010 8:27 am

I imagine being a chef is a pretty high-pressure job. Creating new dishes on TV for a competition would be even harder.

So what would it be like to know that NASA is looking over your shoulder while you’re doing it?

Yikes. The folks who compete on Bravo’s Top Chef are about to find out:

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FWIW I think this is a great idea. Doing stuff like this makes NASA more accessible and more fun, two things it desperately needs. The more it’s in the public eye for things like this, the more support it’ll get when it’s needed. And I don’t think this sort of thing makes it look like NASA is selling out, or debasing itself. There’s a new generation of people out there who will — haha — eat this stuff up, and I like seeing NASA embracing the idea.

This episode airs on Septmeber 1.


Comments (17)


    Aliens’ observation of Earth people’s cuisine:

    P.S. Phil, that should be September, not “Septmeber”. 😉

  2. Messier Tidy Upper

    Hmm .. No videoclip. I just got a message saying :

    “We’re sorry but the clip you selected isn’t available from your location. Please select another clip.

    Well, no, durnnit.

    [Lil’ Britain voice on] I want that one. [/Lil’ Britain voice off.] :-(

    BTW. My location is Adelaide, South Australia if that’s any help / worth noting here. Anybody else get better luck?


    @ MTU,

    No luck here (U.K.) either, that’s why I provided some alternative entertainment above. 😉

  4. Anthony

    I’m in Pennsylvania, USA… I’m getting sound, but no video, just a black screen that says “Loading…”

  5. JohnK

    It run just fine here in Houston. I even got to see the commercial before the clip started.

    Personally I think the show should be filmed in Houston, where human spaceflight is conducted.

  6. Ricardo

    We’ll have to see if NASA even honors their agreement.
    Remember what happened with the Colbert Space Station Module? They ended up not honoring the outcome of that contest, but at least he got a Combined Operational Load-Bearing External Resistance Treadmill named after him.

  7. Gary

    Disagree. NASA needs less foolishness and more technical development. What’s next, Paris Hilton in space (she’s just got arrested for being high, you know).

  8. Chris

    Just so long as they don’t approve of a dish by saying “Houston, we have lift-off!”, or use “Houston, we have a problem” when a chef/team finds itself in trouble, or any other unoriginal lame/cutesy joke.

    I’ll be skipping it anyway because I despise reality TV – and am actively boycotting this trend towards low-cost reality TV over higher-cost (and IMO higher quality) scripted television). Yes, I realize that most “Reality TV” is scripted to a large degree, I am using the term “scripted” as it is the commonly accepted term for describing traditional shows.

    However, I agree that this sort of publicity is very good for NASA and the target generation (and demographic in general – i.e. not science nerds) is very likely to be watching this type of programming, making it a perfect match. And who knows, I like food and I like NASA, I might be tempted to try to tolerate the “reality” aspect in order to enjoy the other two elements.

  9. LeslieS

    I’m a huge Top Chef fan and can’t wait for this one. A blend of the show and NASA? Dream come true.

    Have any of you picked up the new book, “Packing for Mars” by Mary Roach yet? She has a very entertaining section on the history of food in space. However, my favorite section is still about bathrooms. She has transcripts in there where astronauts are in the middle of something with mission control and suddenly, a turd floats by – which is kind of difficult to ignore. Sounds gross, but I was in stitches reading their comments about it (Mostly, they blamed each other for it – “Mine was softer than that!”). Awesome book. Very funny and informative.

  10. kkozoriz

    Bender: That is why I decline the title of Iron Cook, and accept only the lesser title of Zinc Saucier, which I just made up.

  11. No video — or sound — here either. Although it did do a good job of running an incredibly stupid Toyota commercial before the endless “loading” screen came on. And I’m right here in the US of A. Color me not impressed.

  12. Buzz Aldrin will be a guest on Top Chef.

  13. jcm

    That made me hungry!

  14. Messier Tidy Upper

    @7. Gary Says:

    Disagree. NASA needs less foolishness and more technical development. What’s next, Paris Hilton in space (she’s just got arrested for being high, you know).

    Actually,sad as it might be, a celebrity space flight would be one surefire way to get NASA a lot of publicity and attention again. Not all of that publicity would be favourable but an awful lot would be and those people for whoem space travel has become (almost unbelievably) one big yawn would likely become interested and re-engaged in human spaceflight and exploration again.

    Remember that John Glenn’s shuttleflight was a roaring success and proved very popular as well as recapturing many people’s imaginations. :-)

    I don’t know that Paris Hilton would be my first choice of celebrity space tourist – she’s too dumb, scrawny and not to my personal taste – but, hey, there are worse ideas. There are *better* ideas too natch but still.. 😉

    I agree NASA should focus on the engineering & technology devlopment side but I think it is big enough and clever enough to do the odd PR stunt like this as well. :-)

  15. Zed

    No joy here in Finland either. Love it when videos are posted that you can’t watch.

  16. Cairnos

    So who would be folks preferred celebrity astronaut? Based not just on personal preference but for the amount of (positive preferably)attention it would draw to space programmes. Preferably currently alive and likely to pass the fitness requirements. How about giving us two each (one with re-entry capability and the other for a more…extended stay).

  17. There’s a delicious dish from Cornwall in England called Stargazy pie. I bet that’d win it!


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