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NUTD102 Culinary Nutrition Science

Unit rationale, description and aim

In order to communicate food and nutrition concepts effectively, nutrition scientists must understand how food is transformed from its raw state to the multitude of formats available for consumers. This unit will support students to acquire knowledge about the origins and composition of food and how composition is affected by culinary processes in the home, foodservice or commercial cooking environments. Development of food preparation and cooking skills will enable students to understand how food is produced in commercial cooking environments. This unit aims to assist students develop a basis from which to build deep knowledge and skills in food identification, nutrient composition, preparation and cooking as a foundation for further learning in nutrition science. A Food Handler's certification is included in this unit.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Categorise common agricultural commodities, including livestock, aquaculture and horticulture according to their contribution to local and global dietary intakesGC1, GC9
LO2Assess the effects of primary production, storage, preparation, cooking on the nutrient composition of foodGC1, GC7, GC9
LO3Identify, prepare and present a range of foods using appropriate preparation and cooking techniquesGC1, GC2, GC4
LO4Demonstrate ability to work efficiently and safely in a commercial kitchen environmentGC1, GC2, GC4, GC8


Topics will include: 

  • Food commodities and their production 
  • Nutritive and non-nutritive components of commodities 
  • Local and global food consumption 
  • Introduction to nutrient composition of foods and recipes 
  • Calculating nutrient composition of foods and recipes (Australian Food Composition Database, FoodWorks™, Laboratory Nutrition Analysis) 
  • Basic sensory analysis 
  • Basic food identification 
  • Basic food preparation and cooking techniques 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit fosters student-centred active learning and accommodates diverse student needs. It includes a combination of self-paced, online learning and real-time classes. Early and additional feedback on learning, and tailored support, are provided to facilitate students’ transition to university. 

The learning and teaching strategy adopted aligns with the sequencing of the learning outcomes and consists of three phases that are designed to provide students with an integrated learning experience. The unit is underpinned with approaches designed to support acquisition of knowledge needed to develop a deep understanding of key concepts related to culinary nutrition science: food commodities, food production methods and effects of food production on the nutrient composition of food. The approaches used to facilitate students’ deep understanding of culinary nutrition science include self-paced modules, lectures, face-to-face tutorials and readings. Activities to inform and support skill development related to commercial food preparation and production follows this theoretical understanding. These activities will take the form of practical classes delivered by qualified chef instructors in a commercial/teaching cooking environment. Overall, the approaches used in this unit have a constructively aligned developmental sequence designed to progressively and logically support students learning in ways that maximise the perceived (and actual) relevance and value of each stage. As an overarching strategy, this is expected to engender high levels of engagement, efficiency and effectiveness in students’ study behaviours, and to maximise their learning achievements. This strategy and approaches will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit. Learning and teaching approaches will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively in learning activities. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

In this unit, three assessment tasks are planned to progressively support students learning in alignment with the learning and teaching strategy. The first, involves on online test (mixed MCQ and short answer questions) within semester which will allow students to demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes 1 and 2 and theory related to learning outcome 3. In addition to this summative online test, formative online tests will allow students to assess their progress in the unit as they proceed through the content. These formative online tests allow students to engage in no-impact assessment with feedback, and to assist them to stay up-to-date with the unit content. Second, students will complete a practical manual which will provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate how they have linked tehri understanding of the theory of culinary nutrition science with practical application. Finally, students will undertake a practical exam in order to extend their learning and demonstrate integration of culinary nutrition science knowledge and skill related to learning outcomes 2, 3 and 4, in preparation for further studies in nutrition science. The assessment tasks will allow unit coordinators to assess students’ demonstration of the learning outcomes and attainment of graduate attributes. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Online test  

Enables students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of theoretical content during semester 


LO1, LO2, LO3

Practical manual 

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding of practical culinary nutrition skills 


LO2, LO3

Practical exam:   

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to identify foods and their nutrient composition, and preparation and cooking skills in a commercial/teaching cooking environment. 


LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Berners-Lee, M. Kennelly, C. Watson, R. Heweitt, C. N. (2018). Current global food production is sufficient to meet human nutritional needs in 2050 provided there is radical societal adaptation. Elem Sci Anth, 6:52

Croxford, S. & Stirling , E. (2017). Understanding the Science of Food. Crow’s Nest: Allen & Unwin 

EuroFIR resources:  

EuroFIR. (2019). Transforming quality food data into tools and products. Retrieved from 

Eurofir Report on Recipe Calculation for Composite Foods (2023). Retrieved from

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) resources:  

FAO. (2019). Commodities which are aggregated or standardized to their primary equivalent in commodity balances demand and food balance sheets. Retrieved from  

FAO. (2019). Global agriculture towards 2050. Retrieved from  

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ). (2019). Food Nutrient Database. Retrieved from    

Linehan, V, et al. (2013). Global food production and prices to 2050: scenario analysis under policy assumptions. Presented at the 43rd ABARES Outlook Conference, Canberra, Australia. Retrieved from

Machackova, M., Giertlova, A. Proubska, J., Rose, M., Ramos, C. & Ginglas, P. (2018).  EuroFIR Guideline on calculation of nutrient content of foods for food business operators. Food Chemistry, 238, 35-41,   Retrieved from

Mandatory Menu Board Labelling Schemes (state based). Victoria  

Smith, N.W. (2016). Food and Agriculture Management and Trade. Reference Module in Food Sciences. Retrieved from:

United States Department of Agriculture. (2019). USDA Food Composition Databases. Retrieved from

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