Tag Archives for Pasty

Look after the nippers

View of the beach from New Polzeath.Image via Wikipedia

It is not often in Cornwall that you are hoping it will rain but when you are a lucky entrepreneur, you arrive in time for a heat-wave.  On one day I hoped for a little rain to clear the car park and the beach so I could enjoy peace and quiet.  It is amazing how many people come down to the beach on hot and sunny days.  Numbers are up but many visitors to Cornwall are spending their money in the supermarkets and cutting back on going out for meals.  This is not good for the many passive equity companies in Cornwall that are in the catering tradesuch as Dobles, many with second and third generations at the helm.  Let us hope that they do not fulfill the old adage of clogs to clogs in three generations.  Hope they all have a good business plan.  You could spend your holiday seeking out active equity companies funded by Finance Cornwall but it is more fun to taste the delights of local producers (nearly all passive equity companies) such as Rodda’s Cornish Clotted Cream and St Austell Brewery.  There is also the onerous task of seeking out the best Cornish pasty.  Try starting with the forty members of the Cornish Pasty Association.

As in the Lake District, there is a tension between the locals who make their money from the visitors, and the incomers who are seeking a paradise of peace and quiet with incomes funded by public sector or large company pensions.  The remains of the tin mines remind us all that Cornwall was a very important industrial area and a wealth creator.  It is only comparatively recently that it has become a holiday and retirement county.  I stayed in the village of St Agnes, on the north coast, which was split by plans to bring in the popular Beach Break Festival from Polzeath to the farm which used to host the Surfers Against Sewage Ball.  The local bakery expected to sell £20,000 worth of pasties to the 10,000 festival goers.  Local campsites would have been full.  But others were concerned with disruption to their paradise.

The West Briton reported that “the three-day event featuring top national bands should have filled the farm fields with revellers. But that all changed when Cornwall Council’s planning committee members ignored their officers’ recommendation for approval and threw out the application”.  The locals blamed recently retired in-comers with time to spare and cash to produce detailed reports (always remember the bats and newts) and then bussed in the protesters to attend the planning meeting.  To add salt to the local’s wounds, one of the incomers was then elected to the local council!

You can see both points of view but as I was woken by the sound of a beach party one night, I turned over and dreamed of times long ago when I would have been “moon-walking”! (I wish. Ed).  Even in Cambridge we manage with May Week and Strawberry Fair although I gather that the Jesus College Ball had to finish early.

One evening I was lucky enough to be down at Trevaunance Cove when the Nippers Club of St Agnes Surf Club ( 7-12 years old, boys and girls) had a training evening.  It was very special to see nearly fifty kids and their supervisors set out for a distant cove. The nippers take their training very seriously and are taught great respect of the sea and how to help each other.  The purpose of the training is to provide volunteers for the surf club, people willing to risk their lives to save others.  It is them against the elements and such a very different atmosphere from watching nippers play football, tennis or rugby with parents urging their children on from the sidelines.  Which sport prepares people best for the business world where team work and leadership are such valuable skills?

So the message from Cornwall is “Please do come and stay.  We understand that times are tough but do make sure that some of your money is spent with local firms”.  To those who wish to move to paradise, remember that Cornwall is for all.  Although sometimes festivities for the young can be disruptive, it is not for long and one day those youngster will be the next older visitors to Cornwall and bring their children.  And you will feel safer in paradise guarded by one of those nippers who has grown up and may even have enjoyed a beach party or two!

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Crimping 50,000 pasties a day

BUDE, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 09:  A Pengen...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Proper Cornish Food Company is part of the Cornish Cluster which makes food sourced whenever possible from local farmers in Cornwall and sells across Europe.  The pasties are made in Bodmin and command a premium price.  Each pasty is crimped by hand; expert crimpers can manage three or four per minute.  I wonder when someone will develop a machine to crimp a pasty?  I am sure someone has the skills in Cornwall.

The company was founded in 1988 by three Cornish men, Phil Ugdale and brothers, Dave and Chris Pauling.   The pasties are based on a Pauling family recipe.  Phil is now CEO and Chris is Operations Director.  No sign of Dave on the Proper People page of the site but there must have been romance at Proper in the past (and hopefully now and in the future) as Chris met Jane Flowerdue and married her.  Jane is Marketing Director.

Helen Dunne writes in Business Truth that Proper Cornish Food was started in 1988 and was not incorporated until 1999.  The early years were spent on the less than romantic quest to keep the suppliers happy whilst all the time expanding and investing to keep up with the demands of new regulations.  Four year spent funded by the goodwill and generosity of the creditors must have concentrated the mind.  It is one source of funding but it is not normally recommended to take creditors to an Individual Voluntary Arrangement.

The benefit will be that the founders probably kept more of the equity but if they had raised VC funding, brought in expertise, by now they could have sold out and be enjoying their pasties by the surf.

Proper Cornish Food had an interesting website and no pictures of a pastie on the home page, just a picture of the sea and a video of potatoe farming.  Another brochure site I hear Grant Dain, internet marketing Cambridge, say?

Proper Cornish Food is a member of The Cornish Pasty Association.  A Cornish pasty is crimped on the side and never on top.  More detail on the website where there are plenty of pictures of pasties!

PS. The picture of the pasties is from Zemanta and is from Pengenna Pasties of Bude; another business needing an updated website!  Must try the pasties when next in Cornwall.

I wonder if either of these companies supplies my cousin’s company, Doble Quality Foods, suppliers to the catering trade in Cornwall and South Devon?

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Did a pasty make it better to work in a tin mine than an office?

An old postcard of a Cornish pastyImage via WikipediaDriving down to stay with my cousins, owners of Doble Quality Foods – suppliers to the Catering Trade in Cornwall and South Devon – I always look forward to my first pasty from the St Agnes bakery.  Tasty, very tasty as they say and so are their butter buns.

Whilst St Agnes Bakery supplies the locals in St Agnes, Rowe’s of Penryn has been baking since 1949 and supply Doble Quality Foods and many others with a range of products.  Rowe’s has a good website and tells of how the the miners used to hold the pastie by the crust side so not to put their dirty hands on their lunch.  The problem office workers have with pasties is the crumbs getting into the computer’s keyboard – no shaking get them out!

“But the growth really began after Bill’s marriage to Phyllis Wallace in 1963.The combination of his baking and her selling skills and drive led to many more shops in neighbouring towns during the 1960s and 70s.”  But if Phyllis was so important to the growth of the business why is there only an obituary about Bill on the website?  It is all a bit like the Cambridge Cluster with the emphasis on the technology and not the key skill of selling!

I wonder if Phyllis owned any shares in the business or was a director?  The world has changed a bit since those days but fortunately for us the Cornish pastie is still the best food for a bracing day on the Cornish coast and thank goodness we do not have to go down the mines to enjoy one!  They did not have a business plan resource in those days.

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