ASSIST FM School Cook of the Year 2013 

School Cooks from all over Scotland entered `THE SCHOOL COOK OF THE YEAR 2013` competition. Out of the fifteen original entries, six cooks battled their way through to the final...

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School Cooks from all over Scotland entered `THE SCHOOL COOK OF THE YEAR 2013` competition.

Out of the fifteen original entries six cooks battled their way through to the final:

Suzanne FullerNorth Ayrshire Council

Nikki McNaughtEast Ayrshire Council

Esther FosterInverclyde Council

Tracey Biggs Scottish Borders Council

Marianne HendryStirling Council

Wendy McIntoshTayside Contracts

Held at The Cook School Scotland, each entrant was asked to produce, in just 90 minutes, a healthy and balanced two-course meal, which would appeal to either primary or secondary school pupils at a cost of £1.50 per meal. The dishes were required to conform to minimum nutritional standards for school meals but also called for creativity and flair. The competition was open to all catering staff employed by the 32 Scottish Local authorities, and 15 made it through to regional heats, followed by the final. This is the second year that ASSIST FM (The Association for Local Authority FM management) has run the competition, sponsored by Muller Wiseman. The winner was Nikki McNaught from East Ayrshire Council. Nikki works at Loudon Academy in Galston. In second place was Marianne Hendry of Stirling Council, and in third place was Wendy McIntosh of Tayside Contracts.

Nikki’s menu consisted of a main course of Salmon and Pea Fishcakes served with chilli and lime yoghurt dip and homemade coleslaw and cucumber ribbons, and a dessert of Apple Strudel – Spiced Apple filled Filo pastry served with a Summer Berry Sauce. Bill Kennedy, National Chair of ASSIST, stated, “This is the second ASSIST Scottish School Cook of The Year competition and it follows last year’s successful competition. The competition really shows the skill set of caterers within the school meal service across Scotland. We are extremely grateful to the sponsor, Muller Wiseman, and to The Cook School Scotland for their continued support of the Scottish school meals service. It is a real showcase for the high standard of school meals being achieved around the country. ”One of the judges in the final was John McMahon Chef at the Prestonfield Hotel. John stated that, I was really surprised at the quality of the cooking and presentation skills. The cooks were well prepared and their meals were very creative’. So much so that he asked Marianne Hendry from Stirling Council for the recipe for her dessert (Warm Strawberry cupcakes baked in a teacup). Joe Queen, Executive Head Chef of the Cook School Scotland was Chair of the judges and he stated, ‘I have judged many cookery competitions but the standard of this competition was absolutely fantastic. Despite the constraints of the healthy eating guidelines all the competitors served up superb tasty dishes and they should be proud of their efforts. The competition itself was extremely close and hard to judge and it was a real testament to the standard of cooks within the school meals service’. Alan Russell of Main Sponsor, Muller Wiseman Dairies, said, ‘Muller Wiseman were delighted to sponsor the competition for a second time. We supply schools all over the country and we know that there is some fabulous talent out there. This competition is a great way of showing that talent.’

Wendy Mcintosh – Third Place