Read about ACF’s longstanding partnership with NASA


High school students United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) began 16 years ago with three schools producing hardware training items for the International Space Station (ISS). Since then, HUNCH has grown to more than 200 schools from 38 states. In addition to producing space flight hardware for the ISS and crew training, HUNCH reaches a diverse population of students through design projects, sewing flight and training articles, a video challenge and a culinary challenge. 

That’s where we come in. The ACF has partnered with NASA and HUNCH to help get more students involved in the annual culinary challenge to create a recipe for astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

While participating in this activity, high school students learn about food science and processing while helping create the recipe, which might be harder than you think. (Traditional recipes don’t always work in space — food must be shelf-stable, very flavorful, not too crumbly… there’s a lot that goes into it.)

Crew photo – EXP 59 – Anne Mclain – Orange Blackberry Croissant Casserole Decatur HS (2)
Crew aboard EXP 59 try the Orange Blackberry Croissant Casserole made by Decatur HS • Anne Mclain

Thirty-seven schools participated in the 2019 HUNCH Culinary Challenge. Ten schools progressed to finals and competed at NASA’s Johnson Space Center Food Lab in April in hopes of being named as the 2019 NASA HUNCH Culinary Challenge winner. Phoebus High School of Hampton, Virginia, won with their organic harvest hash with butternut squash entrée. Johnson processed the entrée and sent it up to the International Space Station (ISS) for astronauts to enjoy.

HUNCH preliminary cooking activity for the 2016 student culinary contest at the Johnson Food Lab. • Photographer: James Blair

The deadline to register for the 2020 Challenge is fast approaching. Students and teachers must fill out the proper forms by clicking here and scrolling down to the appropriate section. A 1-2 page paper describing what your class has learned about food processing and food in microgravity from the links and videos found here is due by October 11. For full rules and information, visit

Follow the 2020 HUNCH Culinary Challenge with us on social media, on We Are Chefs and more throughout the year. Learn more about the program at

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