Fine dining, at a new high. A Michelin-starred chef will take his cuisine to our upper atmosphere

COPENHAGEN (AP) — Ever since humans have journeyed to space, their meals there have proved to be, well, nothing to write home about.

But that could change after a Michelin-starred chef teamed up with the Florida-based startup Space Perspective to take fine-dining to our upper atmosphere in late 2025.

Six guests are set to ascend aboard Spaceship Neptune to the stratosphere, where they will enjoy an immersive dining experience served up by Danish Michelin-starred chef Rasmus Munk.

Munk, 33, will travel with the guests and serve the meal himself, from a small kitchen. He says his menu will be inspired by the impact of space innovation.

“We want to tell stories through the food,” Munk says. “We … want to talk and highlight some of the research that’s been done through the last 60 years.”

“I think that will make an even stronger impact when you’re up there and looking down,” added Munk, who will fly with the six ticket buyers.

Spaceship Neptune is more of a balloon than a rocket. The company says its pressurized capsule, attached to a balloon, will lift to an altitude of around 100,000 feet (30,480 meters) above sea level where guests will dine while watching the sun rise over the curvature of the Earth.

Organizers are promising an out-of-this-world experience for those with an appetite for adventure. But such an astronomic menu comes with a fittingly astronomic price tag — $495,000 per ticket.

Organizers say the trip will last six hours and that they are they are still in discussion with potential participants.

It’s one of the latest offerings by private firms that include Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, and SpaceX.

The flight won’t technically reach “space" — Spaceship Neptune will ascend to around 19 miles (30 kilometers), well below the Karman line, the boundary separating Earth's atmosphere and outer space, which is some 62 miles (100 kilometers) from Earth.

Munk's menu is expected to be a far cry from meals eaten by past and present astronauts.

The first man in space, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, squeezed beef and liver paste into his mouth from an aluminum tube.

To save on weight, astronauts aboard the International Space Station usually dine on dishes packaged in rehydratable containers, including soups and casseroles.

There have been some exceptions. In 2006, French master chef Alain Ducasse created special gourmet food that could be used for celebratory meals aboard the ISS. The tinned dishes included typical Mediterranean ingredients, such as olives, tomatoes, quails and swordfish.

Though Munk is mysterious about his menu, he says he’s planning to incorporate glow-in-dark stars made from aerogel and jellyfish protein.

“We are also working on an edible piece of space junk from a satellite,” he said.

“And then, we want to talk about some of the things going on on the planet … from deforestation to temperatures rising and the garbage in our seas,” he added.

Munk’s Alchemist restaurant in Copenhagen, the Danish capital, has held two Michelin stars since 2020, and last year was ranked fifth best restaurant in the world.

Guests dine on a menu of 50 edible “impressions,” and the experience is accompanied by performers and installations, all set in the restaurant’s own architecture — a former theater set building workshop in Copenhagen.

At the restaurant’s center is a large planetarium dome, where guests eat surrounded by projections of Earth seen from space, oceans, forests, even a beating heart.

“I think fine dining, in general, is changing a lot," Munk says. "And I think you, as a guest, require more an experience in the future.”

Danish food and wine writer Rasmus Palsgaard says gastronomy is becoming more about the experience, and less about what’s on the plate.

“More wealthy people or big companies have a desire to really create something special that is more than a meal,” he says. “It’s about much more than just the food being served in front of you.”