NASA HUNCH Culinary Challenge - Space Bars
The culinary curriculum at Windsor High School is extremely robust and, for some students, competitive. The NASA HUNCH Culinary Program, which develops and researches food items for the International Space Station, allows WHS students to spread their wings and put on their thinking caps. In order to submit a recipe for the competition, a research paper must first be written taking into account microgravity. There are key components that the students must keep in mind, in microgravity such as shelf life, reconstitution and nutritional needs of the astronauts. Students submit recipes for review by NASA HUNCH and the selected recipe is then put to the test. The next few months are then spent testing the recipe, following very specific guidelines, until a winning formula is discovered. For example, the students discovered that the space bars did not retain a “bar” shape. A variety of different ingredients were tried until a winning combination, using raspberry preserves and almond butter, did the trick. Another research paper incorporating all the elements of the project is submitted, including a video.
The recipes are then processed by the Johnson Space Center Food Lab, and the finalists are selected. In past years, finalist teams traveled to the Johnson Space Center for the national contest. But, due to Covid concerns, this year the recipes were prepared for judging by teams of students in the Sullivan University Culinary program on their behalf, and live streamed! The final competition put Windsor in the top 10 in the nation and #1 in the state. All students involved in the NASA HUNCH Culinary program earned a $12,000 scholarship to Sullivan University in Kentucky. Congratulations!