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Mr Cornish is crowned king of the world's pasty-makers

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: March 05, 2012

  • Graham Cornish from Ginsters of Cornwall was declared pasty-making champion of the world, taking two of the top prizes at the inaugural event

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A rather aptly named contestant won two out of the four classes at the first ever World Pasty Championships this weekend.

Graham Cornish – yes, that is his real name – from Liskeard scooped the trophy in the traditional recipe pasty class. Mr Cornish also triumphed in the open class, for which he invented a pasty of smoked fish, saffron and clotted cream.

"I'm humbled to win these awards," said Mr Cornish. "From the age of five I've been making pasties. The secret of a great pasty is using the freshest local ingredients."

Mr Cornish is the product development manager of Ginsters.

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This Cornish firm's mass-produced pasties retail in garages and supermarkets nationwide, but have none of the meticulous hand-crimped pastry that helped Mr Cornish win awards for his own home-made versions.

Nonetheless, the buzz surrounding the contest shows that the traditional hand-made Cornish pasty is alive and well these days. More than 100 were entered into the awards, which were held at the Eden Project on Saturday.

The event attracted national media coverage, including a mention on the BBC's The One Show.

"Eden is a brilliant venue and this event raises the profile of the Cornish pasty," said Mr Cornish. "It's good for local sourcing and local farming and it's brilliant to get people eating more pasties."

As well as the professional classes won by Mr Cornish, there was also a hard-fought amateur contest, in which Billy Deakin of Mount Hawke, near Redruth, triumphed with his traditional Cornish pasty. Suzanne Manson of Bristol scooped the amateur open category with a pasty containing wild rabbit poached in cider and leeks, finished with peas and lemon zest.

"The rabbit in cider pasty was completely delicious, a total surprise but a recipe which really worked well," said one of the 21-strong team of judges.

All entrants in the Cornish Pasty categories conformed to the traditional recipe, as laid down by the European Union Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). They were judged in strict anonymity for taste, texture, appearance, pastry crimp and technical expertise. The 21 judges included pasty-makers, food experts and the WMN's news editor, Steve Grant, a fan of the traditional Cornish pasty.

In the open classes contestants were free to include any ingredients they chose.

Contents ranged from squirrel to bacon to banana. "Not all of which were entirely successful," commented a judge.

Padstow's Chough Bakery, recently featured on TV's The Fixer show with Alex Polizzi, also did well, scooping second place in both the traditional pasty and the open class.

Cornwall's long-standing links with the United States were reflected in the fact that two entrants came from across the pond. Jay Sebastian of the Bridgeport Pasty Company in Chicago came third in the Open Professional class and Cornish ex-pat Mike Amery of Pennsylvania, 68, flew to the UK to enter the Open Amateur class with a lamb and mint pasty. Sadly, Mr Amery's pasty did not get placed. According to one judge it was "a good pasty but unfortunately had been undercooked to the extent that the vegetables were still hard".

The event is expected to become an annual one and is backed by the Cornish Pasty Association, which won the coveted PGI status for the Cornish pasty last year.

Sharp's Brewery in Rock sponsored the competition and created a new celebratory brew for the contest, available for one day only, called Oggy Ale, named after the Cornish slang for a pasty.

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  • CornishHeath  |  March 06 2012, 11:38PM

    Couldn't believe this, bet Ginsters are rubbing their hands with glee, who on earth were the judges and how did they arrive at the result ? Horse and Jockey in Helston now there's another real pasty maker to add to that list. Congrats to the amateur winner though.

  • poldice  |  March 06 2012, 7:51PM


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  • Vox_Populi  |  March 06 2012, 8:37AM

    @ Slimslad "Pasty-snobs" aka "people with taste buds".

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  • Slimslad  |  March 06 2012, 8:15AM

    Oh dear! A few sour grapes here about Ginsters. Pasty-snobs.

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  • Vox_Populi  |  March 06 2012, 7:48AM

    I still wouldn't buy a Ginsters pasty though. Not whiles there's: Hampsons (Hayle) Philps (Hayle) Choakes (Falmouth Moor) Berrymans (Redruth and Perranporth)

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  • Kevrenor  |  March 06 2012, 1:05AM

    Surely this article should have been about Billy Deakin of Mount Hawke? Well done Billy.

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  • homerjay  |  March 05 2012, 11:14PM

    As Mr Cornish is product development manager for Ginsters perhaps he could show them how to make pasties too? As for a pasty of smoked fish, saffron and clotted cream, how sycophantically twee and vomit inducing.

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  • Twixter  |  March 05 2012, 10:24PM

    I don't understand how the self-made pasties of a person who happens to be a product development manager from Ginsters would qualify to be entered in the 'professional' class of this competition? Surely this class is intended for professional pasty makers to showcase the product they actually offer for sale to the public? This is obviously likely to cause some confusion (or even result in deliberate 'creative editing') when it comes to associating this story to Ginsters' own mass-produced products... there appears to be more than a hint of conspiracy involved here!!

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  • sandyshaw  |  March 05 2012, 3:23PM

    I was there, was too busy, I didnt really know what was going on. Didnt find any special pasties. I saw one big queue to buy pasties but I believe they were just mass produced ones from the local factory. I had a lunch in the canteen which is a free for all, quite strange you just take what you want then eat it, i had to go outside. then sometime later find somewhere to pay and remember what you ate. I expect a lot of a people just dont pay. Best thing there for me was the chocolate cake.

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  • josdave  |  March 05 2012, 2:57PM

    How does this tally with working for Ginsters? A bit of a contradiction in terms there.

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