High school seniors win chance to cook for astronauts

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – Culinary dreams took a cosmic turn for three high school seniors who won a competition to cook for the astronauts on the International Space Station.

Laila Wright from Valley View, alongside Brianna Smallman and Hanna Pamplin from Nettleton all worked hundreds of hours to ensure their dish was out of this world.

“I have never been more proud of my students,” said NEACTC Culinary Professor Zane Johnson.

These high school seniors created a dish more complex than rocket science. Smallman said it was very difficult to whip up a dish that followed all NASA nutrition guidelines.

According to Johnson, the dish required careful consideration to meet specific criteria, such as low salt content and precise carbohydrate and saturated fat levels.

“Scramble eggs which normally would have poached eggs on top but we could not use poached eggs because of the diet they need,” said Smallman.

Wright’s mother was in attendance for the surprise and she said the kitchen was a mess most nights, but to see her daughter’s dedication pay off was worth all the dirty dishes.

“Those girls worked hard so this is what happens you are successful, and you win,” said Wright.

The students blast off to Phoenix this summer and cook their “Out Of This World” dish in front of dozens of celebrity chefs. All students received a $15,000 scholarship to Sullivan University.

“I am doing culinary arts at Pulaski Technical College and I am going into baking and pastries,” said Smallman.