VCE Food Studies Units 3 and 4


Unit 3: Food in daily life

What happens to the food we eat? You will learn about how food is digested and how our body and mind helps us to appreciate (or reject!) food. Have you ever wondered why your cooking was a success or a complete disaster? You will learn more about how food science factors such as temperature, acid, alkalis and agitation impact on the ingredients you work with contribute to whether or not you will be sharing a “food selfie” on Instagram or feeding your cooking to the dog! Do you want to know how to eat a healthier diet? You will learn more about the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and how you can use these tools to plan healthier meals not just for you but for people of different ages and genders.

What we eat today is very different to what your parents and grandparents ate. You will investigate how and why we are eating Buddha bowls and other food trends, and not so much “meat and 3 veg” anymore. You will look at why the food you eat makes you the person you are and connects you to others. Are you confused by what you see and hear about food? You will learn more about how to decide if the information provided to you is trustworthy or misleading. The practical (cooking) part of this Unit gives you the chance to apply what you have learned about food science to produce nutritious (and hopefully successful!) everyday meals and practice a range of food preparation skills.

Unit 4: Food issues, challenges and futures

Are you worried about food waste, excessive food miles and unethical treatment of animals? Or perhaps you are concerned about single use food packaging, unfair treatment of food workers or food insecurity? In this Unit you will examine these issues and others that impact on global and Australian food production such as organic farming methods and genetically modified foods. You will select an issue that you are interested in and conduct a research report into the issue, including what can be done to deal with the issue into the future.

How can you know whether to trust everything you hear and read about food? You will learn more about how to respond to food information and develop the skills and knowledge you will need to figure out what information to believe and what to reject. You will use the knowledge and skills to assess a range of food fads, trends and diets. You will again produce healthy recipes based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.

Who is it for?

If you like cooking and want to know the science behind why your cooking sometimes does not work out then this is the subject for you.

This is also a great subject for you if you want to know more about how food and diet can keep you healthy. This subject is great for students who want to help others make wise food choices also. Therefore, if you are planning to study health and nutrition in the future or you are thinking about pursuing a hospitality course, this subject can help you develop some important skills and knowledge to take forward into further study or a relevant career.

What do you do?

In these Units students will:

  • cook 5-6 recipes throughout each Unit (in Year 12 students no longer produce the “design folio” or “hamper” that you may have heard about)
  • develop evidence of cooking through the production of their choice of PowerPoints, videos, iMovies, etc.
  • taste tests
  • sensory analysis
  • ingredient comparisons
  • research assignments
  • contributions to Class Discussions
  • develop of menus / recipes to meet a specific need
  • modify recipes to meet a certain need

What skills do you need?

You will need to know how to read and produce a recipe and to perform basic food preparation skills. It would be great if you have had some cooking experience but if you haven’t it will not be a problem.

You will need to be self-motivated, organised and enthusiastic. Sometimes you might need to find your own information and recipes to complete learning activities so you will need to have good research skills in order to find the information you need.

From time to time, you will be asked a question about a food related topic. You need to be able to say what your opinion is and explain why you have that opinion. If you already have some knowledge about basic nutrition, that would be helpful, but not necessary.

What skills do you develop?

You will develop a variety of skills including:

  • Organisation in the kitchen
  • Safe food handling skills and knowledge
  • Basic food preparation skills
  • How to use food preparation tools and equipment safely
  • Research skills
  • The ability to identify, analyse, explain and compare a range of food-based information from websites, TV shows, magazines etc. You will learn how to trust the information you are presented with.
  • You will develop the ability to evaluate your written and practical work and if something went wrong, you will learn more about how to make appropriate suggestions for how to improve in the future.




What you will need for this subject:

  • the prescribed text is Heath, G., McKenzie, H. and Tully, L., Food Solutions – Food Studies Units 3 and 4, 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 course is a fully online course – there is no printed course-book available. However, many resources are hyperlinked on VSV Online for you to print yourself if you wish.

Things to think about

You will plan and prepare food regularly, but cooking is just one of the many different types of activities you will complete in this subject. The other activities include written work and other practical activities such as taste tests and comparing products.

There is a large practical part of the subject but as it is a VCE subject, you will find that you will need to be just as organised and committed as you would for any other VCE subject. You can expect to spend 5-6 hours a week on Food Studies, just as you would for any Unit 3-4 Maths, English or Science subject.

You will not necessarily have to submit work every week. For some weeks, attendance and participation in online lessons will be all that is required. From time to time, the cooking work may still require you to do some written work so that you can demonstrate to your teacher knowledge around what you are cooking and why you are cooking it. For each cooking task, you will need to prove to the teacher it has been completed – so you can do this by making a movie or presenting a range of photographs.

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.

Familiarise yourself with the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.

Have a basic understanding of the main nutrients, their role and the foods that provide these nutrients.

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





Things to have a look at

Australian Dietary Guidelines

Information about the Australian Dietary guidelines and advice about the amount and kinds of foods that we need to eat for health and wellbeing.

Kitchen safety tips


Australian Guide to Healthy Eating

Explains the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating – A food model which you will study throughout units 3 and 4.