GCSE Food Preparation & nutrition

This course is for students who enjoy food preparation, cooking, experimenting with food, and developing nutritious healthy dishes.

Why study Food & Nutrition?

This GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition course focuses on practical cooking skills to ensure you develop a thorough understanding of nutrition, food provenance and the working characteristics of food materials. This course is for students who enjoy food preparation, cooking, experimenting with food, and developing nutritious healthy dishes.

The course covers the knowledge, understanding and skills required to cook and apply the principles of food science, nutrition and healthy eating. The majority of the course will be delivered through practical preparation and making activities. You need to be able to make the connections between theory and practice to apply understanding of food and nutrition to your own practical work.

Course Content

You will study:

Food preparation skills are integrated into five core topics:

  1. Food, nutrition and health
  2. Food science
  3. Food safety
  4. Food choice
  5. Food provenance

The range of food and ingredients studied will reflect the recommended guidelines for a healthy diet based on the main food commodity groups.

 You will learn how to:

  • Develop a wide range of practical skills
  • Use your knowledge of nutrition and science behind food to develop dishes
  • Choose ingredients and have an awareness of the wider environmental aspects of food choice and where food comes from
  • Develop new dishes through experimentation and using an understanding of a range of culinary traditions

The course will enable you to:

  • consider the influence of lifestyle and consumer choice when developing meals and recipes
  • consider the nutritional needs and food choices when selecting recipes, including when making decisions about the ingredients, processes, cooking methods, and portion sizes
  • develop the ability to review and make improvements to recipes by amending them to include the most appropriate ingredients, process, cooking methods, and portion sizes
  • manage the time and cost of recipes effectively
  • use your testing and sensory evaluation skills to improve the recipe during the preparation and cooking process
  • explain, justify and present your ideas about your chosen recipes and cooking methods to others

What can I expect?

In year 10 you will undertake a considerable amount of practical work to develop your skills and understanding of food materials along with completing a series of modules involving written work and food experiments. There will be some visits to food production and manufacturing facilities.  Much of year 11 will be spent working on the NEA element.

How will it be assessed?

Assessment will consist of a written examination and some non-examined assessment.

Written examination

Tests the theoretical knowledge of food preparation and nutrition from Sections 1 to 5 above.

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


  • Multiple choice questions (20 marks)
  • Five questions each with a number of sub questions (80 marks)

Non-examined Assessment

Consists of two tasks set by the examination board:

Task 1: Food investigation

Tests understanding of the working characteristics, functional and chemical properties of ingredients. You will produce a written report (1,500–2,000 words) including photographic evidence of the practical investigation.

Practical investigations are a compulsory element of this NEA task.

Task 2: Food preparation assessment

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

You 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. This will be recorded in a concise portfolio of no more than 15 sides of A4, including photographic evidence.

Further information:

It is more important for pupils choosing the course to enjoy a large variety of foods than have a natural flair for cooking; we will teach you how to cook! The course is taught in a “hands on” practical way; consequently the weekly purchase of ingredients will be necessary. 

For further information on the Food Preparation and Nutrition Specification: Click here