GCSE AQA Food and Preparation

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What is Food Preparation and Nutrition?

This is an exciting and creative course which aims to nurture students’ practical cookery skills to give them a strong understanding of nutrition. The course focuses on practical cooking skills to ensure students develop a thorough understanding of nutrition, food provenance and the working characteristics of food materials.

What will I learn during the course?

Here are a few examples of what you will be learning:

  • General practical skills including, knife skills, preparing fruit and vegetables, use of the cooker and other equipment.
  • Methods of cooking, including how to prepare, combine and shape different ingredients
  • Sauce making, tenderising and marinating.
  • Dough forming and shaping and using different raising agents.
  • Setting mixtures.
  • Nutritional needs and health including micro and macro nutrients.
  • Energy needs, nutritional analysis, diet, nutrition and health.
  • Technological developments associated with better health.
  • Cooking of food and heat transfer.
  • Selecting appropriate cooking methods.
  • Functional and chemical properties of food.
  • Raising agents.
  • Food safety, food spoilage and contamination.
  • Buying and storing food.
  • Factors affecting food choice.
  • British and international cuisines.
  • Sensory evaluation.
  • Food labelling and marketing and food provenance.
  • Environmental impact and sustainability of food.


What will the assessment be like?

There are two elements which contain both written and practical aspects.

Non-Exam Assessment:

50% of the total GCSE marks.

Task 1 (NEA Non-Exam assessment)

A food investigation worth 15% of the final grade

Task 2 (NEA Non-Exam assessment)

A food preparation assessment worth 35% of the final grade, a portfolio is produced, and 3 dishes are made within a 3-hour assessment.

Written examination

50% of the total GCSE marks.

Is the course right for me?

You will have the opportunity to develop your own practical and design skills which can easily be applied when catering for yourself or friends at home, college, or university. Food preparation and nutrition is a sound basis for further study at higher levels alongside catering and hospitality courses.

Transferrable Skills

Studying Food Preparation and Nutrition enables student to develop many transferable skills including independent thinking, people skills, creativity, organisation, problem solving and time keeping.

Post 16 Courses and Routes to Employment

Students who have studied Food Preparation and Nutrition go on to study courses at college, sixth forms and universities such as food science, dietetics, sports science, hospitality and catering, biology, product design and nursing.

Possible Careers

Catering, Chef, Cookery School, Development Chef, Dietician, Environmental Health Officer, Hospitality, New Product Development Technologist, Nutritionist, Marketing, Process Technologist, Product Development, Quality Assurance Technologist, Research and Development Technologist, Teaching, Technical Assistant, working in a café or restaurant or even starting your own business!


What is the aim of the course?

The Food Preparation and Nutrition course is an exciting and creative course which focuses on practical cooking skills to ensure students develop a thorough understanding of nutrition, food provenance and the working characteristics of food materials. At its heart, this qualification focuses on nurturing students' practical cookery skills to give them a strong understanding of nutrition.

What sort of practical work would a student do in the GCSE?

The focus of the GCSE is developing a variety of high-level food skills. There are 12 in total and these cover aspects of food preparation such as making dough, using specialist equipment, knife skills, setting mixtures, using raising agents etc. By the end of the course, you would have a high level of food skills. You would also be able to select, prepare and cook a wide range of ingredients.

How often would the class cook?

You would normally do a practical task each week. This course is suitable for those who love cooking and remember to bring their ingredients to school.

What does the theory work cover?

The theory is linked to the practical work. However, it is an academic course and covers topics such as nutrition, nutritional needs, food science, food safety, food choice and food provenance. These topics are taught throughout year 10 and assessed in an external examination at the end of year 11.

is there any coursework?

There are two NEAs which are delivered in year 11. NEA 1, a scientific investigation, is worth 15% of the final grade. This is a challenging task in which the exam board issue a topic and the students conduct practical investigations which test a hypothesis that they have written. NEA 2, a food investigation, is worth 35%. The exam board issue a topic through which the students produce a portfolio. Students' knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to the planning, preparation, cooking, presentation of food and application of nutrition related to the chosen task are assessed. Students will prepare, cook, and present a final menu of three dishes within a single period of no more than three hours.

What kind of careers can the course lead to?

Upon completion of this course, students will be qualified to go on to further study or embark on an apprenticeship or full- time career in the catering or food industries. There is also a life skill aspect to any food course.


The Fernwood School
Goodwood Road, Wollaton
Nottingham, NG8 2FT

0115 9286326