DOING her homework paid off for schoolgirl Chloe Cockshull this month, as her culinary concoction fit for an astronaut made the final five in a national contest.
The 14-year-old Nova Hreod Academy pupil, with help from her teacher Kerry Camm, came up with Nova Tiffin Capsule, an Anglo-Indian meal which included a ploughman’s bhaji, lamb keema and a rhubarb and custard Kulfi cone.
UK Space Agency launched the competition earlier this year, which asked primary and secondary schoolchildren from across the country to create a British-inspired meal which could be sent to the International Space Station with British astronaut Tim Peake.
Chloe had done her research on Tim and discovered he was an admirer of Indian food, which inspired the capsule she and Kerry created.
The five winning dishes were selected by Tim and celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal.
The news began filtering through to Chloe and her family on July 17 and since then it has been a whirlwind, with an appearance on BBC’s The One Show also added into the mix.
“I was over the moon because so many people had entered,” she said. “There were more than 2,000 pupils entered and to be picked within the top-five was amazing.
“We knew we had put together quite a good dish, but we knew there would be hundreds or thousands of entrants.
“My parents were thrilled and excited. I told them about the competition and they helped me with ideas.
“It was a space special on The One Show. Chris Evans said mine was a lovely and amazing meal.
“Heston said the thing that stood out for him was the rhubarb and custard Kulfi, which took an Indian dessert and added a British element.
“It was a really scary experience, but great. We only found out the day before, so it was a bit of a rush to get there. All of my teachers and friends said how nice it was to see me on TV. The headteacher said he was proud.”
Chloe is no stranger to culinary success. In May last year she was crowned one-half of the winning team in the Year 7 and 8 category at Swindon College’s cookery challenge for schools across the town.
She will now wait for a date to visit one of Heston’s kitchens across the country, where she and the four other finalists will combine their five dishes to create one final meal which Tim will take into outer space.
Tim said: “I’m incredibly impressed with the creative and mouth-watering entries we’ve received from children all over the UK and I’m really looking forward to enjoying a Great British space dinner on board the International Space Station.
Heston said: “This has been such an amazing experience. The students are incredibly inventive and creative, quite possibly the next great chefs or scientists of tomorrow.”