Ultimate takeout dish? KCTC students team up with GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education to compete in NASA HUNCH project

Two KCTC students and two GRCC students cooking in kitchen.

Their meal won’t get to the International Space Station, but the work of a team of Kent Career Tech Center students collaborating with GRCC’s culinary program leaders might help astronauts someday walk on Mars.

Four KCTC students partnered with the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education to participate in the NASA HUNCH national competition. The grand prize is to have a meal rocketed up to the crew of the ISS, which is studying, among other things, how people can live in space.

The competition is about more than creating the best-tasting takeout. NASA scientists are studying how to prepare for potential long-term missions, and how to keep astronauts healthy

A team from GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education last year came close – finishing second in a field of 56 teams. The KCTC-GRCC team of Elizabeth Afton of East Grand Rapids, Grace Haaksma of Grand Rapids, Olivia Sandoval of Wyoming, and Chris Quezada of Kentwood, finished out of the top 10 and won’t move to the next round of the competition. But they still learned much about the science behind food preparation.

As NASA is figuring out how to feed astronauts heading to Mars, feeding humans on a six-month space trip,” said Chef Werner Absenger, Secchia Institute for Culinary Education director.

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