VCE Food Studies Units 3 and 4


Unit 3: Food in daily life
What happens to the food we eat? You’ll learn about how food is digested and how our body and mind helps us to appreciate (or reject!) food. Ever wondered why your cooking was a success or a complete disaster? You’ll learn more about how food science factors such as temperature, acid, alkalis and agitation impact on the ingredients you work will impact on whether or not you’ll be sharing a “food selfie” on Instagram or feeding your cooking to the dog! Want to know how to eat a healthier diet? You’ll 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’ll investigate food trends such as why we’re eating more plant based meals and drinking and not so much “meat and 3 veg” anymore. You’ll look at why the food you eat makes you the person you are and connects you to others. Confused by what you see and hear about food? You’ll learn more about how to decide if the info provided to you is trustworthy or misleading. The practical (cooking) part of this Unit although small, 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
Worried about food waste, excessive food miles and unethical treatment of animals? Or perhaps you’re concerned about single use food packaging, unfair treatment of food workers or whether or not people in Australia and around the world have enough to eat? In this Unit you will examine these issues and farming methods that impact on global and Australian food production such as organic farming methods and genetically modified foods. You will select an issue that you’re really interested in and conduct a research report into the issue, including what can be done to reduce any potential impact on our environment and the animals and people around us.

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

Who is it for?

If you 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. So if you’re planning on studying 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:

  • you will cook a recipe 3-4 times throughout each unit
  • development of evidence of cooking through the production of their choice of PowerPoints, videos, iMovies, etc.
  • taste tests
  • sensory analysis
  • ingredient and product comparisons
  • research assignments
  • contributions to class discussions
  • development of menus/recipes to meet a specific need
  • modification of 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 for Unit 3 and 4 Food Studies 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
  • You are required to purchase the ingredients required for your food productions
  • You need regular access to a kitchen with a range of appliances and utensils.

NOTE: Very few activities are taken from the textbook. However, as a VCE student you should be completing wider reading and consulting a range of resources, hence why the text is recommended. The textbook also includes a range of review questions and revision activities that students can complete as additional work to prepare for SACs and the end of year exam. However, if you do not wish to purchase the text book you can complete the course without it – you just need to be aware that from time to time you may need to conduct your own additional research in order to gain additional information.

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

This subject is called “Food Studies” because it is more about the study of food rather than the preparation of it. You will plan and prepare food 3-4 times per unit, 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.

Practical work is a small component of VCE Food Studies. It is much more “academic” than the previous “Food and Technology” where practical work and the production of a hamper or folio was the main focus. As an academic VCE subject, you’ll find that you will need to be just as organised and committed for Food Studies as you would be for any other VCE subject. You can expect to spend 5-6 hours a week on Food Studies, just like you would for any Unit 3-4 Maths, English or Science subject.

You won’t necessarily have to submit work every week. For some weeks, attendance and participation in online lessons may 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’ll 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. 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.