School Cooks went `head to head` to compete for the prestigious title of `THE ASSIST SCHOOL COOK OF THE YEAR 2012` at The Cook School Scotland.There were six cooks from around the country who battled their way through to the final:Norrie Scott – TaysideCarol Coupland - North AyrshireTracey Biggs - Scottish BordersTracey Walker - StirlingSharon Lockhart - West DunbartonshireDebbie Ward - East RenfrewshireIn third place was Tracey Walker of Stirling Council.In second place was Carol Coupland of North Ayrshire Council.And in first place was Norrie Scott of Tayside. Norrie is Catering Manager at Perth High School.Norrie’s two course meal was Scottish Lamb and Mint with Pork sausage served with Citrus Couscous and Fresh Mint Raita, followed by Toffee Apple & Blueberry Crumble & Creme Fraiche.Each entrant was required 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 child. The winning dish also was required to conform to minimum nutritional standards and could be made up of poultry, meat, fish and non-meat proteins.The competition was open to all catering staff employed by the 32 Scottish Local authorities. This is the first time ASSIST has run the promotion, and it was a great success.School meals have been a topic of conversation for many years. Eight years on from Hungry for Success, Scotland is still leading the way when it comes to the role it plays in healthy eating and the meals provided. Budget restraints have made business conditions difficult, along with the pressure of legislation and the constant battle with the street vendors. However, schools all over the country have performed extremely well and deserve as much praise as possible. This competition offers the chance to promote staff, kitchens and schools as well as being a once in a lifetime experience for all those who enter. It will really show that school cooks have the talent and skills expected in the catering industry.The final was judged by Joe Queen (The Cook School Scotland), Garry Watson (Gordon’s Restaurant), Ray Lorimer (Catering At Your Convenience) Alan Russell (Wiseman Dairies), Claire Hislop NHS (Dietician) as well as two primary school pupils: Ava Cook, (Mauchline Primary) and Rachel Brown, (New Farm Primary).Ken Campbell, Chair of ASSIST, stated, “This is the inaugural ASSIST Scottish School Cook of The Year competition and it has been a fantastic success. It has really shown the skill set of caterers within the school meal service across Scotland. We are extremely grateful our sponsors, Wiseman Dairies for their continued support of the Scottish school meals service, and to The Cook School Scotland and Braehead Foods for providing us with such a fabulous facility in which to hold one of our heats and the final. It is a real showcase for the high standard of school meals being achieved around the country. ”One of the judges in the final at was Joe Queen, Executive Chef of Braehead Foods. He was so impressed by the standard of the competition that he is giving one week’s work experience to Norrie.He stated, ‘I have judged many competitions but the standard of this competition was absolutely fantastic. Not only did all the competitors have superb work practices but their skills for creating such great tasting food on such a tight budget is testament to the skills that exist in many Scottish schools around the country. It is something to be really proud of.’Thanks go again to our sponsors, Wiseman Dairies and The Cook School Scotland, and to all our judges.