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The cooking test

Richard Frost, British Council, Turkey

This is a writing and speaking activity that is a lot of fun for students. It helps them to practise food and cooking related vocabulary as well as how to give instructions.

Your students will need to know vocabulary associated with food and cooking. It is a good idea to teach them words for cooking utensils too (e.g. saucepan, knife) and verbs connected with cooking (e.g. fry, chop). You might also like to teach some language you find in recipes (e.g. imperatives, sequencers, quantifiers).

You also need to photocopy and cut up or make your own ingredients cards.


  • Tell the students that you are going to have a cooking competition to decide who the best chefs in the class are.
  • Put the students into pairs and give them a random selection of ingredients cards. Seven or eight in total is usually enough.
  • Ask the students to talk together and invent a new dish using all of the ingredients on their cards. When they have thought of one, give them a blank piece of paper and ask them to draw a picture of the meal and write the recipe below.
  • Ask the students to decide who is going to explain the recipe and who is going to listen to other people's recipes. Put the students into new pairs with a different partner and ask the speakers to present their recipes to the new partner.
  • Re- pair / group the students a number of times so that they have the chance to hear and tell about a number of recipes.
  • The students who have listened to all the recipes have to report back to their partner on what they have heard.


  • Instead student to student work the pairs could come to the front of the class and present their recipes.
  • Instead of using only food as ingredients, you can also use strange ingredients such as 'a sock' or 'grass'. Young learners in particular love inventing horrible new meals.

Follow up

  • You could put the recipes up around the room and get students to vote for the best one.
  • Use the recipes to create a class cook book