VCE Food Studies Units 1 and 2


Unit 1: Food origins

This Unit looks at how history and culture have impacted on the foods available to us today. Students investigate where food originated from and how its role has changed through time and across the world. Students explore how humans found and produced food from the time of the hunter-gatherer, through to permanent rural-based agriculture communities, to today’s urban living and global trade in food. Students will learn about the origins and significance of food by investigating particular food-producing regions of the world.

Students also investigate Australian Indigenous food before the Europeans arrived and how what we eat in Australia and how we eat it has changed over time. They consider the influence of technology and globalisation on these food changes. Students investigate cuisines that are part of Australia’s culinary identity today and reflect on the concept of an Australian cuisine.

Unit 2: Food makers

In this Unit students investigate how food is produced in modern-day Australia, exploring large and small scale food production inside and outside the home. Students gain insight into the important role that the production of food has in the Australian economy and investigate the ability of the food industry to provide safe, high-quality food that meets the needs of consumers.

Students produce foods and consider a range of criteria to compare their home-made foods to similar foods that can be purchased. They consider how well they provide and prepare food at home, and analyse the benefits and challenges of preparing food for themselves in their daily life. Students design new food products and adapt recipes to suit particular needs and circumstances.

Who is it for?

This subject is for students who like to know the history of where their food comes from and how history and migration to Australia has resulted in today’s “Australian cuisine”. This subject is also for students who like to know how their food is produced and how the influence of a range of factors has a big impact on what food is available. It is for students who like cooking and like to develop their own foods and recipes to meet a particular situation, and students who want to improve their knowledge and skills so they can produce food in a safe and effective manner.

What do you do?

In these Units students will:

  • cook 5-6 recipes throughout each Unit
  • develop evidence of cooking through the production of their choice of PowerPoints, videos, iMovies, etc.
  • taste tests
  • sensory analysis
  • ingredient comparisons
  • research assignments
  • contribute to Class Discussions
  • develop menus / recipes to meet a specific need
  • modify recipes to meet a certain need

What skills do you need?

Students will need to know how to read and produce a recipe and to perform basic food preparation skills. While some cooking experience is preferred, it is not essential.

Students need to be self-motivated, organised and enthusiastic. They need good research skills in order to find the information they need to develop a recipe to meet a need.

Students need to be able to state their opinion on a range of topics and be able to explain why they hold that opinion.

What skills do you develop?

Students develop a variety of skills including:

  • organisation
  • safe food handling skills and knowledge
  • basic food preparation skills
  • safe and appropriate use of food preparation tools and equipment
  • research skills
  • the ability to identify, analyse, explain and compare a range of food-based information
  • the ability to evaluate results and make suggestions for improvement




What you will need for this subject:

  • the prescribed textbook is Heath, G., McKenzie, H. and Tully, L., Food Solutions – Food Studies Units 1 and 2, 4th Edition, Nelson, South Melbourne, 2016
  • mobile phone or digital device to photograph production work
  • the ingredients purchased for your food productions
  • regular access to a kitchen with a range of appliances and utensils

Please be aware that this is a fully online course – there is no printed course-book available. However, many resources are hyperlinked on DECV Online for you to print yourself if you wish.

Things to think about

Food Studies was a new subject in 2017 and is different to the previous Food and Technology. While students still plan and prepare food, students do not cook every week, and cooking is not the main focus of this new Study Design.

As a VCE subject, it will be just as challenging as any other VCE subject and does require organisation, commitment and participation from students. You can expect to spend 4-5 hours a week on Food Studies, just like you would for any maths, English or science subject.

There will be work that needs to be submitted every week. Cooking work still requires some written work as students need to demonstrate knowledge around what they are cooking, how they are cooking it and why they are cooking it. For each cooking task, there may be written questions to answer that link the recipe to the topic you have learned about for the week.

Food Studies includes practical work and written work. It is enjoyable and fun but it is not an “easy” practical subject.

Things you can do now

Have a basic understanding of what causes food poisoning to develop and how you can prevent it.

Be familiar with what you can do to use tools and equipment safely in the kitchen.

Familiarise yourself with a range of food preparation techniques and how to perform them.

Go to the VCAA website for more information about this subject.





Things to have a look at

Kitchen safety tips


What is food poisoning?


Food preparation skills