Otago Polytechnic

Bachelor of Culinary Arts through Assessment of Prior Learning


Distance (with workshops in Dunedin)

One year
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    5 February 2018

Our Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) service measures your knowledge against formal qualifications. This process is especially valuable for those who are currently employed. If you already have significant skills and experience in the hospitality industry, then this may be an option for you.

Entry requirements
  • You need to have a minimum of 10 years work experience in the hospitality industry with three to five years as a Head Chef (or at least have been responsible for designing dishes, menus and/or kitchen/culinary processes).
  • If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 6.0, with no less than 6.0 in writing and speaking, and no less than 5.5 in reading and listening. 
  • You must submit a detailed CV, a Portfolio of Evidence and a menu design exercise (see details below).
 Portfolio requirements


Key skills and knowledge

Examples of evidence


Culinary skills and knowledge

a. You must provide evidence of relevant culinary qualifications (certified copies of qualifications and transcripts) and/or evidence of relevant professional experience  (i.e. a CV that outlines roles and responsibilities as well as the key skills gained)

b. You may also provide evidence of:

  • Awards and accolades
  • Competing in culinary competitions
  • Reviews of your food
  • Menus and recipes developed by you
  • Photos of dishes you have designed and created.


Management of culinary processes

a. You must provide a CV highlighting relevant experience.

b. You may also provide any of the following:

  • References from employers
  • Examples of work plans, rosters, inventory systems, etc.


Culinary design

a. You must complete the Menu Design Exercise outlined below.

b. You may also provide any of the following:

  • Newspaper or magazine articles relating to your culinary work
  • Relevant scholarly writing by you
  • Television programs featuring your work
  • Blogs or online articles about your work
  • Any other evidence that you feel is relevant.


Professional development

a. You must include a list of relevant examples in your CV.

b. You may also provide any of the following:

  • Evidence of attendance at relevant professional training
  • Evidence of attendance at short courses, master class etc.
  • Evidence of attendance at relevant industry events, trade shows, conferences etc.
  • Professional memberships that are relevant
  • A list of relevant culinary writing and media that you refer to on a regular basis.
Menu design exercise details

You must create a sample menu plan designed for a group of guests at a dinner party according to the following scenario:

You are hosting a dinner party for a diverse group of people including a vegetarian, a farmer, a nutritionist, a parent and yourself. You must please everyone (or at least not offend everyone). Every person must eat.

Your task is to design a menu that caters to your guests and reflects your own tastes and values.

  • List the dishes you have chosen, explain the rationale and inspiration for your menu choices.
  • Your menu design and rationale can also be supported by drawings and images in a way that is visually informative about you and your abilities as a potential culinary designer. 

If you have any questions regarding the submission of your portfolio, please do not hesitate to contact the Food Design Institute. Email info@op.ac.nz or phone 0800 762 786.

Additional documentation

You must supply certified copies of proof of identity and proof of residency (where appropriate).  

The APL process


Once you have submitted your CV, Portfolio of Evidence and Menu Design Exercise, we will use that information to work out if the APL process is suitable for you. If we believe it is, we will send an Offer Letter and once you have signed and returned this you will be enrolled and invoiced.


Our experienced facilitators support and guide you through a series of workshops and one-on-one work. A three day workshop is held in Dunedin at the start of the programme. A four day workshop is then held in Dunedin a couple of months later.

Your enrolment is split into two parts. The first is related to the Year Two assessment that is introduced at the first workshop and assessed at the second. If you successfully complete this Year Two assessment you will automatically be enrolled in the remaining Year Three papers at the time of the second workshop.

Most of the work is completed by distance in consultation with our facilitators. You are supported to organise your experience, knowledge and skills into a series of assessments that explore your practice and experience. These are submitted between April and the end of September and include various written pieces of work (including the development of an online portfolio) and an oral presentation to an assessment panel (either in person or via video conference).

Your facilitator will guide you through the learning packages associated with each assessment and these will also be introduced at the workshops.


Once you have completed your assessment process, the assessment panel produces a detailed report for you specifying all results achieved by the APL process. This information also enables administrators to record and process your results.


This is one of the rewards for your hard work!

We recommend that you take part in the graduation ceremony in March the following year as a celebration of your achievement alongside our on-campus graduates.  You can also receive your qualification without participating in the ceremony. This is called graduating ‘in absentia’.

Please note: if you have a particular deadline for the award of your qualification, let us know as early as possible.


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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