From celeb chef to virgin galactic spaceman

2013-04-06 00:00

ERIC Lanlard, the phenomenal French pâtissier and celebrity chef, is set to make history by being the first chef to go to space some time mid next year.

Speaking in a telephone interview from London, Lanlard said that it was “pretty amazing and also scary to realise that the date for the trip to space is drawing nearer”.

Lanlard, who never dreamt of travelling to space as a boy, admits that he is both scared and excited, but would seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

He said all his friends think that he is crazy and his relatives are a little worried, but they are all proud of him.

After meeting Sir Richard Branson at an illustrious event, Lanlard decided to sign up with Virgin Galactic and he is on the list of 30 people who will be making the five trips into orbit in 2014.

Lanlard, who appears on DSTV’s lifestyle channel in his 10-part series Baking Mad, has won the prestigious Continental Pâtissier of the Year at the British Baking Awards twice and is considered to have changed the face of British patisserie.

Having moved to Britain in 1989, Lanlard has demonstrated his culinary skills at many special events. Some celebrities who have benefited from his services are Madonna, Guy Richie, the Beckhams, Claudia Schiffer and Elizabeth Hurley.

Among all his achievements, Lanlard considers the special chocolate cake he baked for Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee as his quirkiest and most rewarding experience.

His local fans and followers will have the opportunity to see the master pâtissier at the Good Food and Wine Show in Cape Town from May 23 to 26, where he will rub shoulders with other internationally acclaimed chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Bill Granger.

During the show in Cape Town, Lanlard will launch his latest book Chocolat, which examines the history of chocolate and offers some delicious and creative chocolate-based recipes.

He admits that besides having regular health checks, he went to seek advice from Buzz Aldrin, the second man to have walked on the Moon, who said to him, “Don’t have breakfast”.

Asked about what he would like to eat first when he lands back on Earth after his trip to space, Lanlard chuckled and said: “I would rather drink chilled champagne, and since I would not have had breakfast and probably with an empty stomach, I will enjoy some Mexican food since we are landing in Mexico.”

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