VCE Food Studies Units 3 and 4


Unit 3: Food in daily life

This Unit investigates the many roles and everyday influences of food. Students explore the science of food – what happens to food after it is eaten, the microbiology of digestion and how our body and mind helps us to appreciate food. They also investigate the functions and roles of changes that occur to ingredients during preparation and cooking and how these changes impact on the success or failure of a recipe. Students analyse why we need the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and develop their understanding of a range of different nutrient requirements for people of different ages and genders.

Students also investigate how our eating patterns have changed over time and how our thoughts and behaviours around food are impacted on by the people and communities around us. Students look at how food helps us to express identity and make us feel connected to others and how the food information available to us can be manipulated. They investigate how our behaviours assist in the establishment of life-long, healthy dietary patterns. The practical component of this Unit enables students to understand food science terminology and to apply specific techniques to the production of healthy everyday food that meets the recommendations of the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.

Unit 4: Food issues, challenges and futures

In this Unit students examine debates about global and Australian food systems. Students focus on issues related to how our food production and our access to food can impact on the environment. Students also investigate whether food is produced ethically and in sustainable ways. Students look at how farming practices and the development and application of technologies can assist in meeting the challenges of achieving food security, food safety, reducing food wastage, and the sustainable management of water and land.

Students also investigate how they respond to food information and misinformation and they learn to develop food knowledge, skills and habits to empower themselves and consumers to make well-educated and appropriate food choices. Students consider how to assess if a source of food information is trustworthy and apply this methodology to decide on the validity of a range of contemporary food fads, trends and diets. Students again produce healthy recipes based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.

Who is it for?

This is for students who like cooking and also want to know the science behind why their cooking sometimes does not work out.

This is also a great subject for students who want to know more about how their food and diet can keep them healthy and want to know where they get this important information from, and whether or not to trust that information.

This subject is great for students who want to help others make wise food choices also. If you are planning on studying health and nutrition in the future or pursue 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?

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.

Some basic nutritional knowledge whilst not compulsory would be advantageous.

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
  • the ability to modify recipes to make them healthier
  • the ability to understand a range of points of view of a food issue
  • the ability to understand food labelling and marketing in order to make healthy food choices.




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 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 5-6 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.

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.