Is Space the New Frontier of Ultra-Luxe Fine Dining?
One French company seems to think so
We love chefs and restaurants that push the envelope, but we also enjoy poking fun at ultra-luxe fine dining, a la The Menu. But exclusive reservations and molecular gastronomy have nothing on what French space tourism venture company Zephalto has in store for the food and beverage world. They are currently selling pre-reservation tickets for a pressurized Capsule called Celeste, in which guests will be wined and dined while they take in views of the earth.
Tickets for the first flights, set to take place from late 2024 to mid-2025, are already sold out, so these pre-reservation tix are for mid-2025 and beyond. They cost around $10,900 and will give the purchaser a chance to reserve a seat when tickets actually go on sale. In total, a trip on Celeste will cost about $131,100. I know the cost mostly has to do with space tourism, but for that price, it better be the best meal of your entire life.
Vincent Farret d’Astiès, a former air traffic controller who founded the company, told CNN that while the food and beverage on Celeste is certainly something to look forward to, “the view and overall journey remains the central focus of the offering, allowing guests to appreciate and take in the beauty of their surroundings.” The capsule promises to reach an altitude of about 15.5 miles in 90 minutes, meaning that passengers won’t feel the weightlessness that comes with loss of gravity.
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While the roster of chefs hasn’t been announced, Zephalto’s idea is to have some of the best culinary masters “exercise their creative license and ensure the ability to personalize the guest experience to offer something that is refined and elevated.” Celeste plans to take off from France for the time being, but the company hopes it will be a worldwide endeavor before long.
Here’s where it gets confusing for me. In an airplane, the reduced pressure affects our smell and taste receptors, essentially dulling them and making most foods taste blander. If the cabin pressure inside Celeste is similar, the meal eaten within doesn’t seem like it would be worth the six-figure price tag. But just like the guests who attended the final meal in The Menu, many weren’t at Hawthorne for the food, but because being there was a status symbol. It seems like a lot of the guests who dine on Celeste will think of it in much the same way.
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