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Study, Learn and Work in the Food Service Industry

  • Start a business, get a job, or increase your value to your employer.
  • Food service is a business that has changed a lot; and will probably keep changing. Despite change; everyone needs to eat, will always need to eat, and that one fact alone guarantees that there will always be work, business and career opportunities in the food services industry.
  • This course can be your entry point or a boost to your prospects, if you are already involved with food services.
The organisation of work in the kitchen will depend on the type and size of the operation, and the ratio of semi skilled or unskilled to skilled workers being used (maybe 1:3). Mechanisation and the use of convenience foods have altered jobs in the kitchen significantly, and shrinking profit margins require more efficient and profitable working. It is therefore very important to train and develop staff (succession planning) not only in technical skills but also in supervisory and management skills.

It is essential to control materials (now an increasing cost factor in receipt), storage, preparation, cooking and service, and the elimination of waste. Quality control is practiced on a more sophisticated basis, and standardised operational instructions call for precise menu production to consistent standards.



There are 9 lessons in this course, as outlined below:
1. Human Food and Nutrition
  • Introduction
  • Quality of ingredients
  • Range of ingredients
  • Cooking methods used
  • Eating
  • Major food groups
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Proteins
  • Grains
  • Vegetables
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Food allergies
  • Terminology
  • Weight and energy conversions
  • Resources
  • Networking - for restaurant managers, food industry employees 


2. CookingStudy online with ACS Distance Education - Learn and Work in the Food Service Industry
  • Nutritive value in cooking and processing
  • Cooking different types of foods
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Plant foods
  • Effect of cooking methods on nutrients
  • Baking
  • Blanching
  • Braising
  • Grilling
  • Poaching and boiling
  • Pressure cooking
  • Roasting
  • Sautéing
  • Steaming
  • Preparing vegetables
  • Benefits of cooking
  • Preserving nutrient value in food
  • Managing different nutrients -heat sensitivities, etc.
  • Canning and pasteurisation
  • Homogenisation and pasteurization of milk
  • Freezing
  • Dehydration
3. Kitchen and Food Management
  • Effect of cooking on nutrition
  • Managing food contamination
  • Contaminants during food processing
  • Pathological contamination
  • Preventing food poisoning
  • Food laws and labelling
  • Labelling
  • Dating
  • Special purpose foods
  • Ethics of food additives
  • Allergies, sensitivities and poisoning
  • Common food allergies
  • Kitchen design
  • Equipment design
  • Criteria for selecting equipment
  • Equipment inventory
  • Managing a freezer
  • Preparation areas
  • Vegetable preparation
  • Salad preparation
  • Meat preparation
  • Fish preparation
  • Pastry preparation
  • Cooking area
  • Central range
  • Convection ovens
  • Microwave oven
  • Cleaning area
  • Waste disposal
  • Food service equipment
  • Food service management
  • Traditional kitchen staff roles -types of chefs, divisions of larder, pantry, tournants etc
  • Menu and production planning
  • Types of production - A la Carte, Table d'Hote, Call-Order, etc
  • Activities in cook-freeze operation
4. Planning A Menu
  • Needs of special groups
  • School children
  • Adolescents
  • Expecting mothers
  • Nursing mothers
  • The elderly
  • Immigrants
  • Vegetarians
  • Menu planning
  • Assessing diets
  • Assessing your own dietary intake
  • A typical diet at a residential school
  • Plate waste
  • Assessing plate waste
  • Diet formulation
  • Food additives
  • Preservatives
  • Additives for enhancing appearance and colour
  • Flavouring agents
  • Sweetening agents
  • Emulsifying agents and stabilisers
  • Anti caking agents
  • The menu
  • Planning
  • Types of menus
  • Menu composition
  • Beverages
  • Wine and alcohol lists
  • Non alcoholic drinks 


5. Alcoholic Beverages
  • Wine
  • Common white grape varieties
  • Common red grape varieties
  • Wine processing
  • Fortified wines -sherry, port, marsala, maidera, vermouth.
  • Beer
  • Types of beer
  • Beer tasting and characteristics
  • Spirits - Brandy, Whisky, Gin, Rum, Vodka
  • Liqueurs
  • Liqueur coffees 


6. Tea, Coffee and Non-Alcoholic BeveragesStudy online with ACS Distance Education - Learn and Work in the Food Service Industry
  • Water
  • Providing water
  • Soft drinks
  • Fruit juices
  • Non alcoholic cocktails
  • Coffees
  • The coffee blend
  • Grinding coffee
  • Making coffee
  • Problems with coffee
  • Non alcoholic coffee substitutes
  • Teas
  • Specialty teas
  • Green tea
  • Common herb teas
7. Scope and Nature Of Catering Services
  • Vending machines
  • Popular catering
  • Hospital catering
  • Airline catering
  • Function catering

8. Personnel Management

  • Reservations and bookings
  • Reservation systems
  • Direct or indirect reservations
  • Contracts
  • Cancellation procedure
  • Refund policy
  • Basic waiting techniques
  • Holding a Service Spoon and Fork
  • Carrying Plates
  • Using a Service Salver
  • Using a Service Plate
  • Carrying Glasses
  • Carrying Trays
  • Using a Waiter’s Friend
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Addressing customers
  • Dealing with complaints
  • Staff recruitment
  • Advertising a position
  • Interviewing
  • Training staff
  • Different ways of learning the job
  • Self esteem and motivation
  • Assessing training needs
9. Management Of Catering Services 
  • Restaurant marketing
  • Feasibility research
  • Competitive analysis
  • Market analysis
  • Financial analysis
  • Advertising and PR
  • Food purchasing
  • Purchasing methods
  • Tendering


  • Study online with ACS Distance Education - Learn and Work in the Food Service IndustryExplain the role of different food types in human health.
  • Understand the alternative cooking processes, in order to make appropriate decisions about the cooking of different foods
  • Manage the provision of kitchen facilities, and the handling of foodstuffs (including food storage and preparation), in order to maximise efficiency, hygiene and service with the restrictions of facilities available.
  • Plan menus or list of food products for sale, appropriate to different situations.
  • Manage the provision of alcoholic beverages appropriately, in different situations
  • Manage the provision of non-alcoholic beverages appropriately, in different situations.
  • Describe differences in appropriate management for catering in a range of varying situations.
  • Discuss how to manage staff in the food and restaurant industries.
  • Consolidate skills developed throughout this entire course into an overall understanding of management of catering services.




Study online with ACS Distance Education - Learn and Work in the Food Service IndustryThis planning should be the result of a group decision by managers - not just the chef. One appreciates that the skilled chef, in designing his menu, takes into account previous sales figures, which reflect customer preferences. He needs to consider the menu balance, texture, flavour, taste, blend of different cooking methods, and (perhaps) the use of left overs. He will take account of his staff, and their ability to produce any standard or variable menu using the equipment available.

Methods of Kitchen Production

Forms of kitchen production can include:

*A La Carte Production

This can be defined as the traditional method of the conventional or partie system. The menu offers a wide choice of dishes and prices. On the kitchen production side, a certain amount of mise en place or advance preparation is done for each service, for example, garnishes, sauces and the like. Apart from this, all dishes ordered sur la commande are cooked to order. This requires a flexible system in the kitchen, and relies upon the work of skilled staff.

*Table d'Hote Production

A set menu is easier to organise and produce in a kitchen. It consists of each section of the kitchen department producing a set number of portions of each course at each meal service. The meal can then be dished up and served from a hot plate as required. This is a straightforward service and it is one that can be geared to a personal waiter or waitress service, or to various forms of self-service (eg. buffet). This system is less onerous than a la carte, and may not require such a high degree of skill from staff. It also allows generous portions to be produced at lower cost.

*Call-Order Production

This is the type of service used to provide room service meals in a hotel. It requires less equipment than for an a la carte operation. The menu is normally restricted in size and scope, and is commonly made up of convenient, easy to prepare foods. Typical equipment needed might be refrigerators, grills, toasters, deep fryers, microwaves and convection ovens.

*There are also other systems such as a very sophisticated a la carte system (where no food is pre-prepared), or a simpler system, where all food is served cold (eg. fruit, ice cream, sandwiches, etc).


ACS Student Comments
"I have enjoyed the course and would study with ACS again"
D. Hennessy

"It was a very good and interesting course.... I was able to learn a lot more about working in kitchens"
J. Towers






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Work in the Food Service Industry - Study nutrition, food preparation and catering with ACS!

Study online with ACS Distance Education - Learn and Work in the Food Service Industry

  • A solid foundation for working in a restaurant, catering or other food service enterprise.
  • Topics covered vary from kitchen and food management to planning a menu, restaurant staffing and waiter/waitress skills.


Meet some of our academics

Karen LeeNutritional Scientist, Dietician, Teacher and Author. BSc. Hons. (Biological Sciences), Postgraduate Diploma Nutrition and Dietetics. Registered dietitian in the UK, with over 15 years working in the NHS. Karen has undertaken a number of research projects and has lectured to undergraduate university students. Has co authored two books on nutrition and several other books in health sciences.
Tracey Jones (psychology)B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies) Tracey began studying psychology in 1990. She has a wide range of experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects. She has been a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work and has also written many textbooks, blogs, articles and ebooks on psychology, writing, sociology, child development and more. She has had also several short stories published.

Check out our eBooks

Preserving Meat and FishThe Preserving Meat and Fish ebook is a guide for everything that you need to know about preserving your own meat and fish.
English GrammarThe English Grammar ebook can be a great reference for students, people who are learning English and anybody who writes anything- ever. The English Grammar ebook takes grammar back to basics to help confirm correct use of grammar. Topics that are covered within this course include 1/ Introduction- the components of language, 2/ Types of words, 3/ Punctuation, 4/ Upper and lower case, abbreviations, numbers, bullet points and 5/ Using words together.
Event ManagementThe Event Management ebook can be used as a reference for students or as a foundation text for professionals who need to know the finer details for organising an event. This book takes the reader through the all of the considerations that need to be looked at prior to, during and after an event is organised. The topics covered in the Event Management ebook are 1/ Scope and Nature of Event Management, 2/ Developing a Concept and Planning, 3/ Organising the Resources Required, 4/ Catering: Food and Drink, 5/ Promoting an Event, 6/ Managing the Clientele, 7/ Risk Management, Legalities and Contingency Planning, 8/ Delivering the Event, 9/ Organising Celebrations and Parties, 10/ Organising Exhibitions, 11/ Organising Conferences and Seminars and 12/ Working in the Event Industry.
Getting Work in a Modern WorldGetting Work in a Modern World is a must read; for students, parents, the unemployed, careers advisors or anyone interested in changing or forging a sustainable career. This is realistic guide to getting a job or starting out in business and understanding different industries. Topics covered in this book include 1/Career Myths, 2/ Finding Your Path, 3/ Understanding Employers, 4/ Preparing for a Job, 5/ Jobs to Consider: Looking to the Future, 6/ Information Technology, 7/ Business, Management and Sales, 8/ Health and Wellbeing, 9/ Horticulture, 10/ Wildlife and Environmental, 11/ Animal Care, 12/ Agriculture, 13/ Hospitality and Tourism, 14/ Media and 15/ Education.