GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition
The AQA GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition course is a comprehensive and engaging program designed to equip students with essential culinary skills, nutritional knowledge, and a deep understanding of food science. This course is specifically tailored for students aged 14-16 and provides a solid foundation for those interested in pursuing further studies in food-related fields or simply becoming more proficient in food preparation and nutrition.
The course is divided into two key components: practical food preparation and theoretical nutrition. In the practical aspect, students learn a wide range of cooking techniques, food safety procedures, and recipe development. They gain hands-on experience in creating a variety of dishes, from simple everyday meals to more complex culinary creations. This fosters creativity, teamwork, and an appreciation for diverse cuisines.
The theoretical component focuses on the science of nutrition and its impact on overall health. Students explore topics such as macronutrients, micronutrients, dietary guidelines, and food labelling. They also examine contemporary issues like sustainable food production and ethical considerations in food choices, preparing them to make informed decisions about their own diets and contribute to discussions about global food challenges.
Assessment is multifaceted, encompassing both coursework and written examinations. Students are required to demonstrate their culinary skills through practical cooking exams and showcase their understanding of nutrition through written assessments.
The AQA GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition course encourages a lifelong passion for cooking and a holistic understanding of food, from its cultural significance to its impact on individual well-being. It equips students with valuable life skills that are relevant not only in the kitchen but also in fostering a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
This exciting course will be implemented through the well-developed curriculum which focuses on practical cooking skills and research 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. Food preparation skills are integrated into five core topics:
- Food, nutrition and health
- Food science
- Food safety
- Food choice
- Food provenance
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.
General Food Practical skills to be covered in the Foods course
- General practical skills
- Knife skills
- Preparing Fruits and vegetables
- Use of the cooker
- Use of equipment
- Cooking Methods
- Preparing Combining and shaping
- Tenderising and marinating
- Raising agents
- Setting mixtures
Year 10 Curriculum Overview
In the AQA GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition curriculum for Year 10 (typically aged 14-15), students delve into the intricacies of nutrition, health, and food science. They explore macronutrients and micronutrients, examining their roles in the human body and the impact of dietary choices. Practical cooking skills advance with a focus on complex dishes and techniques. Food safety, hygiene, and regulations are covered comprehensively. Students analyse food provenance, ethical considerations, and sustainability in-depth. Additionally, they learn to evaluate and adapt recipes, considering dietary needs and preferences. This curriculum fosters a deep understanding of nutrition and equips students with advanced culinary skills and critical thinking abilities.
Year 11 Curriculum Overview
In the AQA Food Preparation and Nutrition curriculum for Year 11 students (typically aged 15-16), the focus shifts towards advanced knowledge and practical skills. Students delve into the science of food, including food additives, functions of ingredients, and food preservation techniques. They explore complex dietary concepts, such as special dietary requirements and the effects of diet on health. Students study food provenance and food choice and use these information in planning suitable meals. Advanced cooking techniques are honed, enabling them to prepare sophisticated dishes. Year 11 students also examine the global food industry, sustainability issues, and ethical considerations in food production. The curriculum emphasizes independent research, critical analysis, and preparation for assessments, equipping students with comprehensive culinary expertise and nutritional awareness. Students have to be more independent in choosing recipes to make to suit different brief. Students undertake mini coursework projects to prepare them for the 2 projects and the 3 hour practical exams in year 11. Students also practice exam questions to help prepare them for the exam.
Students make vegetarian and vegan meals, food high in the different macro and micronutrients, multicultural and British dishes. They make their own pasta dishes, different types of sauces, portioning and deboning chicken, filleting fish, making breads and pastries.
Skill 1- General Practical skills
- Weigh and measure: Accurate measurement of liquids and solids.
- Prepare ingredients and equipment Grease/oil, line, flour, evenly and with attention to finished product.
- Select and adjust cooking times Select and adjust the cooking process and length of time to suit the ingredient, for example to match the cut of meat, fish and alternatives.
- Test for readiness Use a temperature probe, knife, skewer, finger or poke test, bite, visual colour check or sound to establish whether an ingredient or recipe is ready. Judge and modify sensory properties
- How to taste and season during the cooking process. • Change the taste and aroma through the use of infusions, herbs and spices, paste, jus, reduction. • How to change texture and flavour, use browning (dextrinisation, caramelisation) and glazing, add crust, crisp and crumbs.
- Presentation and food styling. Use garnishes and decorative techniques to improve the aesthetic qualities, demonstrate portioning, presenting and finishing.
Skill 2: Knife skills
- Food preparation skills Techniques Fruit and vegetables -Bridge hold, claw grip, peel, slice, dice and cut into even size pieces (ie batons, julienne).
- Meat, fish or alternatives- Fillet a chicken breast, portion a chicken, remove fat and rind, fillet fish, slice evenly and accurately: raw and cooked meat and fish or alternatives (such as tofu and halloumi cheese).
Skill 3: Preparing fruit and vegetables
- Preparing fruit and vegetables ---- Mash, shred, scissor snip, scoop, crush, grate, peel, segment, de-skin, de-seed, blanch, shape, pipe, blend, juice and prepare garnishes whilst demonstrating the technical skills of controlling enzymic browning, spoilage and preventing food poisoning (wash and dry where appropriate).
Skill 4: Use of the cooker
- Using the grill - Use a range of foods such as vegetables, meat, fish or alternatives such as halloumi, seeds and nuts; char/grill or toast.
- Using the oven -- Baking, roasting, casseroles and/or tagines, braising.
Skill 5: Use of equipment
- Using equipment - Use of blender, food processor, mixer, pasta machine, microwave oven.
Skill 6: Cooking Methods
- Water based methods using the hob steaming, boiling and simmering; blanching; poaching.
- Dry heat and fat based methods using the hob dry frying, shallow frying, stir frying.
Skill 7: Prepare, combine and shape
- Prepare, combine and shape - Roll, wrap, skewer, mix, coat, layer meat, fish and alternatives. Shape and bind wet mixtures (such as falafels, burgers, fish cakes or meatballs) whilst demonstrating the technical skill of preventing cross contamination and handling high risk foods correctly.
Skill 8: Sauce making
- Starch based Sauce demonstrating starch gelatinisation such as: roux, all in one, blended, infused velouté or béchamel. How starch/liquid ratios affect viscosity.
- Reduction - Reduction sauce to show how evaporation concentrates flavour. E.g. tomato pasta sauce, curry sauce, gravy, meat sauce (including meat alternatives such as mycoprotein and textured vegetable protein) to show how evaporation concentrates flavour and changes the viscosity of the sauce.
- Emulsion - Make an emulsion sauce such as a salad dressing, demonstrating an understanding of how to stabilise an emulsion.
Skill 9: Tenderise and marinate
- Tenderise and marinate:
- How acids denature protein.
- Marinades add flavour and moisture when preparing vegetables, meat, fish and alternatives.
Skill 10: Dough
- Making a dough (bread, pastry, pasta)- Use technical skills of shortening, gluten formation, fermentation (proving) for bread, pastry, pasta. Shaping and finishing Roll out pastry, use a pasta machine, line a flan ring, create layers (palmiers) proving and resting, glazing and finishing, such as pipe choux pastry, bread rolls, pasta, flat breads, pinwheels, pizza and calzone.
Skill 11: Raising agents
- Eggs as a raising agent create a gas-in-liquid foam, whisking egg whites, and whisked sponge.
- Chemical raising agents: The use of self-raising flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda.
- Steam as a raising agent Use of steam in a mixture (choux pastry, batter).
- Biological raising agent Use of yeast in bread making.
Skill 12: Setting mixtures
- Removal of heat Gelation: use a starch to set a mixture on chilling for layered desserts such as custard.
- Use protein to set a mixture on heating such as denatured and/or coagulated protein in eggs.