New Food GCSE challenges the brain as well as the taste buds

Friday 17 Jul 2015

Students will be taught the science behind what makes food tasty in a new GCSE in Food Preparation and Nutrition from exam board AQA.

The qualification will also equip students with an unprecedented range of kitchen skills and an in-depth understanding of nutrition.

Budding chefs will learn how different techniques affect the sensory and nutritional properties of food and be trained in setting up taste panels - the same method professional chefs use to trial new menu options. Students will learn about food origins, sustainability and the impact of food and food security on local and global markets and communities.

They will get the opportunity to develop culinary skills including dough-making, reduction and filleting and then hone these techniques using recipes chosen from British and international cuisine.

Andy Appleton, Head Chef at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall, said:

"It's great that students are getting the chance to learn ALL about the importance and meaning of food, where it comes from - its provenance, seasonality and taste. Understanding the whole food system has meaning for everybody, but is particularly important if you want to inspire a new generation of chefs. This new GCSE will connect life skills with food skills and help shape the future of our industry."

Jozef Youssef, Founder and Chef Patron of Kitchen Theory, has worked at top hotels and restaurants, including The Dorchester and The Fat Duck. He said:

"As humans we take for granted many of the sensory elements which guide and construct our relationship, understanding and interaction with food. It is through research of how our senses are stimulated by food that we can begin to understand the associations and preferences we have, which ultimately work towards developing more enjoyable eating and dining experiences."

Gemma O'Brien, AQA Qualifications Developer, said:

"This new GCSE raises the bar in terms of rigour and challenge. Students will have a strong foundation of food preparation skills across a range of recipes or cuisines."

At the heart of the qualification is a focus on developing practical cookery skills and a strong understanding of nutrition. The qualification brings together the most important elements of other food-related courses under the umbrella of a brand new GCSE. Once students have completed the course, they will be qualified to embark on an apprenticeship, employment in the catering or food industries, or go on to further study.

AQA has submitted its plans for the new GCSE in Food Preparation and Nutrition to the regulator Ofqual for accreditation. Schools will be able to teach the new course from 2016.