What Makes a Qualified Chef? Olfactory and Sociodemographic Predictors of Vocational Exam Results in Culinary School Students

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Research has demonstrated links between sociodemographic background and educational achievements in vocational education and training. Student achievements may be additionally impacted by individual characteristics specifically relevant to the domain of the professional training. In the context of professional culinary education, student achievement may be related to their olfactory ability as the human sense of smell is involved in food perception and preparation. However, whether sociodemographic factors and olfactory ability predict educational achievements has not been directly compared in the context of culinary vocational education, which formed the aim of the current study. To identify the strength of these predictors, we measured participants' odor detection threshold, discrimination and identification ability with the "Sniffin' Sticks" test battery and assessed individual significance of olfaction via a self-report survey. In addition to olfactory measures, sociodemographic data (student and parental educational background, financial status) were also analyzed to determine if they predict theoretical and/or practical exam scores. The results demonstrated that a student's educational background was a significant predictor of scores in the theoretical (but not practical) exam. Parental educational background, financial status, and olfactory ability did not predict exam scores.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487–508
Number of pages22
Journal Vocations and learning : studies in vocational and professional education
Issue number3
Early online dateJun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85162073141
ORCID /0000-0002-3689-8428/work/142235940
ORCID /0000-0001-9713-0183/work/146645715
WOS 001010685600001
WOS 001025091000001


DFG Classification of Subject Areas according to Review Boards

Subject groups, research areas, subject areas according to Destatis

ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Food perception, Smell, Olfactory sensitivity, Culinary education, Culinary education, Food perception, Olfactory sensitivity, Smell

Library keywords