Food Preparation and Nutrition

“First we eat, then we do everything else.” - MFK Fisher (food writer)

Food is essential to life. The food industry is one of the biggest employers in the world and is constantly changing. You will always find employment in the food industry.

This course is one for those who have a love of food and has both theory and practical elements. Studying this course will give you the opportunity to learn, extend and apply skills and knowledge of food preparation and practical skills. You will also learn and understand the science behind what is in our food, how we make it safe to eat and what happens when we cook and eat it.

Outline of Course

The areas studied for examination will be:

1. Food commodities

2. Principles of nutrition

3. Diet and good health

4. The science of food

5. Where food comes from

6. Cooking and food preparation

As you can see, this is a rigorous and focused course with a high emphasis on nutrition, food science and practical skills, which students will use throughout life.

Practical skills

  • Knife skills, including filleting fish and deboning meat
  • Preparing fruit and veg; develop and demonstrate a range of preparation skills such as mash, grate etc
  • Prepare, combine and shape; roll, wrap, shape, skewer, mix, coat, layer meat, fish and alternatives
  • Tenderise and marinate; demonstrate how acids denature protein and marinades add flavour.
  • Select and adjust a cooking process; select and adjust cooking processes and length of time to suit ingredient.
  • Weigh and measure; demonstrate accurate measurement of liquids and solids.
  • Preparation of ingredients and equipment; evenly grease/oil, flour, line and attention to finished goods.
  • Use of equipment; use of food processor, blender, mixer and microwave etc.
  • Water based methods using the hob in cooking methods by steaming, boiling, blanching etc.
  • Dry heat and fat based methods: demonstrate, dry frying, pan and stir frying
  • Using the grill in cooking methods such as char, grill or toast
  • Using the oven in cooking methods such as baking, roasting, braising etc.
  • Make sauces by using starch in gelatinisation, reduction methods and emulsions
  • Set a mixture – removal of heat (gelation); use of starch to set a mixture on chilling.
  • Set a mixture – heating (coagulation); use of protein to set a mixture with heat.
  • Use of setting agents such as egg, chemical raising agents or steam in a mixture.
  • Make a dough; use technical skills such as shortening, gluten formation, fermentation etc.
  • Shaping and finishing a dough; roll out, line, create layers with pastry
  • Test for readiness; use of temperature probe, skewer/knife, finger or “poke”
  • Judge and manipulate sensory properties; be able to taste, season, change texture etc.

Additional Costs

There will be a mandatory uniform cost of approximately £15.00 (subject to supplier cost) plus an annual course contribution of £5.00 towards materials used.

Assessment Method

Paper 1: Food Preparation and Nutrition:

What is assessed: Theoretical knowledge of food preparation and nutrition as shown above.

How it’s assessed:

  • Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 100 marks
  • 50% of GCSE

Questions: all open-ended questions, no multiple-choice options.

  • Section A – one visual stimulus question with a number of sub questions (15 marks)
  • Section B – 7/8 questions each with a number of sub questions (85 marks)

Non-exam assessment (NEA):

What is assessed:

Task 1: Food Investigation 15%

Students understanding of the working characteristics, functional and chemical properties of ingredients.

Practical investigations are a compulsory element of this NEA task.

Task 2: Food Preparation Assessment (35%)

Students’ knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to the planning, preparation, cooking, presentation of food and application of nutrition related to the chosen task.

Students will prepare, cook and present a final menu of three dishes within a single period of no more than three hours, planning in advance how this will be achieved.

How it’s assessed:

Task 1: Written or electronic report (1500-2000 word limit) including photographic evidence of the practical investigation. (8 hours allocated)

Task 2: Written or electronic portfolio including evidence – 15 pages (30 sides limit). Photographic evidence of the final three dishes must be included. (12 hours allocated)

The NEA, set by the exam board, will all be completed in the second year of the course. Task 1 is released by the exam board in September for completion in 8 hours and Task 2 is released in November for completion in 12 hours.

Did you know?

Food research and production is the world’s BIGGEST industry and in the UK it is the largest employer.

  1. There is a shortage of food scientists and technologists in the UK and an advanced qualification in food can lead to careers such as a dietician, manufacturer, quality control analyst, nutritionist, food analyst, product developer and in consumer research, among others.

  2. By 2024, the UK food sector will need approx. 140,000 new recruits to feed an expected population of 70m people and meet market demands.

  3. Most graduates have a choice of jobs as they leave university, and many companies offer apprenticeships, which means your degree course could be paid for whilst you are working. 

For further information see

Mrs H Aston




Food Technology Year 9 KS3 assessment criteria