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HUNCH Culinary Challenge Finals

Wednesday, April 17, 2024
*Included in general admission

Challenge theme: Savory breakfast item that includes a vegetable

Ever wondered what astronauts eat in space and how those recipes are developed? Every year, NASA HUNCH (High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware) issues a challenge to 57 high schools around the world to develop new recipes that are delicious and can sustain astronauts in space. The winning entree will be processed by the NASA Johnson Space Center Food Lab and sent up to the International Space Station (ISS) to fuel astronauts as they perform critical missions in space. All competitors’ culinary creations account for NASA’s food processing procedure and nutritional requirements.  

All Space Center Houston visitors on this day are invited to cheer on student groups in the finals of the HUNCH Culinary Challenge. Watch as students compete in real time to craft meals for astronauts who are living and working on the ISS! Special guest judges from NASA and the food industry will be on hand to choose the winning dish.

Special guest judges

Special guest judges of the 2024 competition include Astronaut Jessica Wittner; Chef David Cordúa of The Lymbar; Dr. Kimberly Glaus-Late, Human Factors and Food Research Section Manager at Leidos; and Chef Charles Carroll, River Oaks Golf Club and former president of the World Chef’s Association.

What are the NASA HUNCH Culinary finals like? Watch last year’s event:

Admission

Access to watch this event is included with general admission for April 20. Members receive free general admission. Not yet a Space Center Houston member? Become a member now and receive discounts on tickets to special events, free general admission and more.

Plan your visit

About the HUNCH Culinary Challenge

There are 57 different high schools worldwide that participate in this annual challenge, issued by NASA HUNCH (High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware). The aim of the HUNCH Culinary Challenge is to develop food items for the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Each year the challenge is focused on a different theme. Using this theme, students at partner high schools around the world are tasked with creating dishes that adhere to NASA food processing procedures and nutritional requirements so that their dishes meet the standards of the NASA Johnson Space Center Food Lab. This challenge engages a wider range of students and illustrates how aerospace research encompasses fields outside of traditional STEM fields. The HUNCH Culinary Challenge also provides an opportunity for students to learn about researching and presenting their work in a professional environment.

The process begins when high schools receive the theme for the year so students can begin developing their recipes. Next, student groups’ entries are submitted to their local center for a taste competition with different food industry professionals and personnel from the center. After those preliminary culinary competitions, student teams with the highest scores are invited to Johnson Space Center for the final competition, where their work will be judged by Food Lab personnel, industry professionals, the ISS program office, and NASA astronauts for quality, taste, their work on the research paper, and presentation video. The winning entree will be processed by the Johnson Space Center Food Lab and sent up to the station to fuel astronauts as they perform critical missions in space.

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