OBJECTIVE: To identify the food skills deemed essential to include in skill-based healthful eating programs in secondary schools. METHODS: Fifty-one food experts including home economics educators, chefs, nutritionists and dietitians, community educators, homemakers, and young people were recruited by invitation, mail, and advertising. Data were obtained by interviewing these food experts over 3 months. RESULTS: The identification of food skills forms the preliminary data for the first study of 3 in the design of programs in secondary schools. The data were reviewed for emerging themes and were coded by applying content analysis procedures. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Food skills required for young people were described under 4 themes as the areas of expertise required for young people to live independently. Understanding these skills would support teachers in designing programs that would address behavioral capabilities to improve young people's food preparation and eating behaviors.