New food and nutrition GCSE will teach pupils how to cook

Students will learn practical cooking skills and healthy eating

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Pupils will learn how to fillet a fish, portion a chicken and make hollandaise sauce under a new GCSE in food and nutrition that aims to promote healthy eating and teach practical cooking skills.

Students taking the course will have to learn techniques such as making béchamel and velouté sauces and master cooking methods including blanching, poaching, roasting and braising. They will also have to become experts in making pasta, choux pastry and bread.

Details of the new cooking course are unveiled today along with new forms of GCSEs in citizenship studies, drama and religious studies.

Ministers announced plans for a new qualification in food and nutrition last year to teach students practical cooking skills and promote healthy eating. The course aims to take a more scientific approach to the subject, with teenagers expected to learn about the relationship between diet, nutrition and health, and about the impact of a poor diet.

Other topics include the nutritional properties of food; working out energy and nutrition values; planning meals and recipes; and major diet-related health risks such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

The course outline states that pupils should learn about the “scientific principles underlying the preparation and cooking of food”. It replaces the current GCSE, which had been criticised for requiring students to spend time designing food packaging rather than learning to cook.