by Ruth Huxley
When Cornishman Bill Rowe set up his little baker’s shop in Falmouth in 1949, little could he have dreamt of what lay ahead.
Sixty-five years later this St Pirans Day the business that still bears Bills name celebrated three-fold success at the World Pasty Championships.
Two Rowe’s development chefs won the professional bakers’ categories and their customer, the West Cornwall Pasty Co scooped the much coveted best commercial Cornish pasty award.
Officially that makes the West Cornwall Pasty Co’s pasties the best in the world!
And they’re all made in Cornwall by W.C. Rowe, just as they have been since the West Cornwall Pasty Co set up in 1999.
The pasties are made to the traditional Cornish pasty recipe now recognised and protected by the EU and each pasty is crimped by hand to give it its distinctive Cornish touch.
The competition is now in its third year but this was the first time anyone from the bakery or any of its products had been entered in the Championships.
Against stiff competition from other professional bakers and the highest number of entries yet, Development Chef David Timmins won the Professional Cornish Pasty Award and W.C. Rowe’s other Development Chef Nik Brown won the Professional Open Pasty Award.
The Open category is for pasties that are not made to the recognised Cornish pasty recipe, and often include weird and wonderful creations with influences from all over the world.
Nik’s recipe had a distinctly Cornish feel, made with Cornish steak and Sharp’s Doom Bar ale, clearly a winning combination.
lan Pearce, owner of W.C. Rowe, said, “I could hardly believe it when I heard the news because these championships are hard-fought.
“I am over the moon that our professional chefs received the recognition they deserve and that our customer West Cornwall Pasty Co has become the world champion at their first attempt, with a product that we have been supplying them with since they started.”
Alan has worked for W.C. Rowe since he joined as an apprentice baker at the tender age of 14.
He learnt the trade from Bill Rowe and his wife Phyllis. The Rowes knew how to sell a pasty and ran their shop like clockwork.
The business grew steadily in time-honoured fashion, with the couple continually reinvesting profits in new shops.
Gradually W.C. Rowe became a familiar sight on the high streets of mid-Cornwall.
In the 1970s, production moved to a factory in Penryn and in 2003, largely due to the volumes required to supply the burgeoning West Cornwall Pasty Co, a new state-of-the-art pasty production facility was built in Falmouth to cope with demand.
Working his way up through the ranks, Alan became Managing Director and in 1999 inherited the business from Mr and Mrs Rowe, who had no children of their own.
Today, the bakery produces a staggering 30,000 pasties every day.
Ask Alan what he feels is the W.C. Rowe recipe for success and he will tell you that it’s very simple: great looking, great tasting, great value products made with the finest ingredients and skill.