Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Eating is integral to life and a multitude of factors affect the eating experience. The relationships between food, perceptions of food, the eating environment and food and beverage intake are only beginning to be understood. This unit will support students to obtain a critical understanding of the factors believed to influence the eating experience and dietary intakes, from the composition and function of ingredients to the dining environment. In addition to assisting students to acquire highly advanced food planning, preparation, cooking and presentation skills this unit will enable students to become influencers of dietary intake in settings from food service in hospitals and nursing homes to meal delivery and cooking kits in the home or workplace. This unit aims to help students acquire the complex high-level knowledge, understanding, and practical and research skills to solve nutrition related problems through highly innovative planning, preparation, cooking and presentation of food that includes industry appropriate creative design of eating environments and eating occasions that have high sensory appeal.

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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Critically examine the relationship between the functionality of single and composite ingredients and the sensory experience of eating/drinking (GA4, GA5)

LO2 - Formulate, execute, and present a culinary nutrition science research project to effectively, yet succinctly, answer a nutrition-related research question (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO3 - Use safe and highly developed, creative, and innovative food planning, preparation, cooking and styling techniques for targeted eating environments (GA5, GA9)

LO4 - Demonstrate teamwork and advanced leadership skills, including the ability to delegate where required, in a commercial kitchen environment (GA5, GA7)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:

  • Composition and function of ingredients
  • Taste, odour, and flavour
  • Sensory experience of eating
  • Advanced sensory analysis
  • Influence of the eating environment design and gastrophysics
  • Sensory principles for healthy ingredient substitution
  • Food styling principles for the table, in plating and in amateur food photography
  • Scientific principles of preparation and cooking methods
  • Culinary science research
  • Advanced food preparation and cooking techniques
  • Working as a team in a commercial cooking environment

For students enrolled in the Master of Dietetic Practice this unit includes topics related to the development and demonstration of professional dietetic practice and competence according to the Accreditation Standards of Dietitians Australia. These are described under the heading ‘Building professional dietetic practice’ in each unit outline and build on topics delivered synchronously and progressively throughout the degree.

Building professional dietetic practice

  • workload and time management
  • technological proficiency
  • collaboration and communication skills
  • peer-education, sharing new knowledge
  • critical, proactive problem-solving approach to practice
  • resource, team worker, leader

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit content will be delivered intensively over 4 weeks, with submission of final assessment following. The intensive practical component of this unit is will be delivered concurrently with an undergraduate advanced culinary science unit in the Bachelor of Nutrition Science. The theory component will be delivered over a 2-week period followed by the practical component. 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 a developmental learning experience. The unit begins with approaches designed to support acquisition of specialist knowledge needed to link food and eating with the senses, culinary nutrition science research approaches and food styling. The approaches used to facilitate students’ learning include online learning modules and readings and will be delivered in the first two weeks of the unit. The unit then builds on this theoretical knowledge and assists students to develop understanding and then application through research and practical skills development in the kitchen. 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 sequenced to progressively support students learning in alignment with the learning and teaching strategy. The first, involves a written assessment task submitted within the first two weeks, and prior to the commencement of the intensive practical component with feedback provided prior to submission of the second assessment task. This task provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to evaluate and communicate complex culinary science principles using clear examples. The second and third assessment tasks extend this theoretical understanding by requiring students to successfully undertake a small and specific culinary nutrition science research project providing students with the opportunity to explore a topic of interest and demonstrate their ability to manage a research project from conception to communication of results. This assessment task will be submitted in two parts, the first a group presentation and the second an individual written report, requiring students to demonstrate two forms of research communication.

Students who do not hold a current food handling certificate will be required to complete and present evidence of completion prior to the commencement of practical sessions.

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 OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1

Written assessment task

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to assess and clearly articulate the links between the composition and function of a single or composite ingredient and sensory experience.



GA4, GA5

Assessment 2 and Assessment 3

Research project

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to innovatively develop, execute and present the results of a relevant experiment to answer a research question. Students will work in groups to develop and present their project and submit an individual written report.

Presentation of project


Written report


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Ungraded hurdle

Current food handling certificate.





Representative texts and references

Blumenthal, H. (2008). The Big Fat Duck Cookbook. London: Bloomsbury.

Segnit, N. (2010). The Flavour Thesaurus. London:Bloomsbury Publishing.

Spence, C. (2017). Gastrophysics. United Kingdom. Penguin Random House.

The Science of Taste Symposium. (2014). Originally published in the journal Flavour which is no longer published. Collection of articles published by BMC

This, H. (2008). Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor. New York: Colombia University Press.

This, H. (2010). Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking. New York: Colombia University Press.

Vega, C., Ubbink, J. & van der Linden E. Ed. (2013). The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking. New York: Colombia University Press.

Recipe based:

The Editors of America’s Test Kitchen & Crosby, G. (2012). The Science of Good Cooking. Massachusetts: Cook’s Illustrated.


International Food Information Council Foundation

Explore the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement and other work by Cornell Food Lab (note recent controversies)

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