Science and gastronomy united in the grand finale of the contest 'La Patata Marciana'

Figure: finalists of the contest 'La Patata Marciana'. Above, from left to the right, Silvia Mañas (amateur cat), Gonzalo Parada (professional cat), Kiko Martins (professional cat), Irma Lorena Asprilla (amateur cat) and Celia Anali Cabrera (amateur cat). Below, from left to right, Jesús Almagro (professional cat.), Alberto García (professional cat.) and Alberto Estrada (amateur cat.). © CAB

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After an intense day in which the eight finalists of the contest, four professionals and four amateurs, they cooked their recipes, they won with the victory of the Kiko Martins contest, in the professional category, and Silvia Mañas in the amateur. The restaurant Zarola, Zaragoza, was the space chosen for the celebration of this grand final organized by the Center for Astrobiology (CAB, CSIC-INTA) and the Albireo Foundation Scientific Culture.

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A few minutes passed at eleven in the morning when the eight finalists of 'La Patata Marciana' began to elaborate their recipes with care. In all of them, it was not lacking, as it could not be otherwise, the star ingredient of the contest: the potato. These eight finalist recipes were chosen from among all those that were presented in the first phase of the contest and were selected for this grand final for their gastronomic and scientific characteristics.

After almost two hours cooking, before the watchful eye of the judges of the contest, who could ask several questions to the participants during the cooking, the chef Kiko Martins won with his dish 'One, two, three, ... Mars ! ', in the professional category and Silvia Mañas with her recipe' Patata marteña 'in the amateur category. The recipe of Chef Kiko (as he is known in the world of cooking) was characterized by the use of previously dehydrated and crushed ingredients, since "this is how they would be consumed on Mars," he says. "The result has been a recipe balanced in nutrients, and that can be used as a snack or full and tasty food," he explains. For its part, Silvia Mañas took the first place in the amateur category thanks to a dish "that could be part of the cuisine of a future base on Mars for its simplicity, low economic cost, easy preparation and good taste," says this young woman of only 15 years.

Both winners faced this grand final accompanied by six other finalists from different countries (Spain, Peru, Portugal and Colombia). The finalists of the amateur category, along with the winner Silvia Mañas, were Alberto Estrada, an engineer working in instrumentation in astrophysics in Madrid; Irma Lorena Asprilla, professional technician in Occupational Health in Santiago de Cali (Colombia) and Celia Anali Cabrera, trainer qualified in international volleyball of the COPEV in Lima (Peru). While the group of professional finalists was composed by Jesús Almagro, chef entrepreneur National Award for Hotel Innovation in 2015; Alberto García, professional chef; and Gonzalo Parada, freelance chef and kitchen expert 'sous vide'; besides the winner Kiko Martins.

For its part, the jury was composed of a 'gastronomic' and a scientific team. The first was formed by Diego Millán and Ramces González, from the CanCook restaurant; and Marisa Barberán and David Pérez, from La Prensa restaurant. Both restaurants (located in Zaragoza) have a Michelin star. The 'scientific' jury was formed by Ana Isabel Elduque, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Zaragoza; Armando Azúa and Eduardo González Pastor, researchers from the Center for Astrobiology (CAB, CSIC-INTA); and Miguel Mas, director of the CAB.

"As a novelty compared to other competitions, in this case we have valued both the gastronomic characteristics of the recipes and their viability in a Martian environment, considering its simplicity, low energy consumption, little generation of waste ...", explains Miguel Mas. Words that coincide Armando Azúa and Eduardo González Pastor.

For the first, "the contest has been an interesting intellectual exercise regarding what considerations should be had to feed the astronauts on a potential trip to Mars and a future colony on the red planet." In addition, Azúa emphasizes, "what now looks like science fiction in a decade or more will be a real problem to face, so putting these issues on the table (literally) is very relevant".

"Many of the contestants have considered several limiting aspects to cook on Mars, such as the possible difficulty of obtaining purified water, reducing energy expenditure in cooking, drying some foods to avoid excessive weight in the ships or even the cultivation of Other vegetables resistant to Martian conditions, but in addition to these technical considerations, some participants have addressed psychological aspects, noting that Mars astronauts and colonists could substantially improve their mood by preparing interesting and tasty recipes themselves, and not simply consuming. fast food '', says another of the scientific judges, CAB researcher Eduardo González Pastor.


About 'La Patata Marciana'
The contest 'La Patata Marciana' is a cooking competition organized by the Center for Astrobiology (CSIC-INTA) and the Albireo Cultura Científica Foundation in combination with the International Potato Center (CIP) and the University of Engineering and Technology of Peru . It has the collaboration of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) of the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, the Cotec Foundation and the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA), as well as the magazine Muy Interesante as media partner.

"With this contest we have achieved that sectors of society that traditionally have little relation with the world of space exploration have spent some time thinking about how the conditions of astronauts will be in a future Martian base, the difficulty of growing and cooking food outside the Earth, and the importance of research in this field, "says Miguel Mas, director of the Center for Astrobiology.

 

Fuente: UCC-CAB

 

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