Taka a look at the winning formula from W.C Rowe at this years' Cornish World Pasty Championships
As you bite into the flaky pastry and your lips hit the warm steak and potato filling, oozing notes of steak and real ale, you can tell this is the winning formula of a World Champion open savory Cornish pasty.
As Major take a visit to WC Rowes Headquarters in Falmouth, Cornwall they delve into the history of the successful family owned bakery and get a feel for the fantastic characters of their highly skilled NPD team and even have a go themselves at recreating these famous pasties with the help and guidance of the award winning team.
Since the opening of the first bakery in 1949, Rowes has continued to expand due to it’s loyal customer base and they now reside in 24 stores in and around the South West of England employing approximately 300 staff.
Not only do they manufacture for their own chain of shops, they also supply into Asda, Tescos and the West Cornwall Pasty Co. in the South West. It’s clear to see that they will be around for many years to come as they continue to grow but to this day they remain a proud Cornish family business.
We interview Nick Brown and David ( AKA Oscar) Timmins of W C Rowe to find out their recent news whilst they explain how the products they develop go hand in hand with the growth of this well respected bakery.
Give us a brief overview of your career to date:
Nick: I started my career by spending 22 years in the Royal Navy, finishing as Head of Faculty for the pastry department at RN Cookery School, Torpoint where I taught advanced pastry. I then moved to Ginsters as a Development Chef working on savoury branded products and for the last 7 years, I have worked for WC Rowe as NPD Manager in many areas covering savoury pastries, bread, cakes and biscuits.
During the above, I took part in various National and International competitions, usually to gold standard, World Cup, World Champion and Olympic culinary cups. My job offers a great deal of variety and for this I’m extremely grateful, I love being extremely creative and hopefully this shows in the products I develop.
Oscar: I’ve worked for Rowes for 22 years starting in confectionery, working my way around the company before ending up in NPD, which was the best move of my life. I absolutely love it and enjoy getting the opportunity to really make an impact into the team and company.
How did you first get into the baking industry?
Nick: I discovered a passion for baking from an early age watching my mother bake and eating her delicious creations. I joined the Royal Navy as a Chef and built on my love of creating food, specialising in pastry work and on completion of my Naval career I joined Ginsters as a Development Chef. It was here that I enjoyed working with Cornish pasties and many other savory pastries.
What are the highlights of your career?
Nick: It’s hard to just name a few but I’d say my top three would be winning gold medals in the Culinary World Cup and Culinary Olympics, achieving the role of Chief Petty Officer Cookery Instructor at the Royal Navy Cookery Shool specialising in bakery and patisserie, and of course winning the World Savoury Pasty Championship 2014. This was a fabulous achievement as there were over 140 entries and our team won three awards between us at Rowes.
Oscar: Mine would most definitely be winning the World Traditional Pasty Championship at Eden last month. Never in my dreams could I imagine doing this and I must say I could never have achieved this without the support of Nick. He’s brought me so far from the traditional bakery into savoury products for our wholesale customers. I have Nick to thank and it was such a fantastic feeling and one which I’ll never forget. I’m still in shock to be honest!
When did you start using Major products?
I started using Major during my time in the Royal Navy…. I’d say it was around 1995 when I met their rep Alison and I’ve never looked back since! J
Which Major products do you believe are the essentials?
Nick: In my kitchen I use the Chicken, Roast Chicken, Beef, British Beef, Porcini Mushroom and Lamb stock bases on a daily basis. They save so much time and add an authentic flavour to the dishes we create. The taste is just like kitchen made stock, so perfect for the development of our products.
Oscar: I use the Major Beef, Chicken, Fish, Lamb and Vegetable stocks in the savoury department which are all amazing. I’m also the Manager of the Sandwich department at Rowes and in the baguettes we use the Chorizo paste and the Thai and Mediterranean Mari Base, which are truly wonderful. We supply these to a local university and the feedback we receive from the students and staff is phenomenal.
What do you think are the best things about Major products?
Nick: They are particularly easy to use, very reliable and always deliver an exceptional flavour.
Oscar: They are full of flavour and are a great quality product, which is just what we require at Rowes. Also we have a great relationship with our rep Ali who always comes with a smile, is good to work with and delivers just what we ask. The one good thing is that Major are always developing new products, so she always has a bag of goodies for us to try!
How do you include them within your recipes at W C Rowe?
Nick: Whether I need to achieve a great flavour in a sauce or pasty, a Major stock always delivers. They are my ‘go to’ ingredient on every occasion.
Oscar: We currently use Major products a lot in our savoury lines within the bakery and within the sandwich department but plan to expand the range in the close future as we’re currently testing a number of new products. They have 11 Marinades in total so I’d like to increase our current offering with flavours from around the world.
On a personal level, you have just become the 2014 winner of the World National Pasty Championship, held in Cornwall. How did this feel?
Nick: It was an amazing feeling. I was surprised and delighted and it’s a much coveted award in these parts so I’ve been very proud indeed. The Major British Beef Stock Base helped me to achieve a great beef note in my pasty and I marinated the Skirt beef in a blend of Doom Bar real ale and Major British Beef Stock for 24 hours prior to the event creating a mouthwatering and succulent dish.
Oscar: Amazing, I still can’t believe it and it hasn’t sunk in yet.
Nick: Id like to thank Alison Vollans and all at Major for their fantastic support. They are especially quick to react to our pleas for new stocks in a hurry for trials and customers and the products are simply amazing.
The pasty story!
The pasty originated over 300 years ago to meet the needs of Cornish tin miners who needed a simple, hearty meal. Meat and vegetables wrapped in a pastry casing made it a very practical lunch as the filling was kept free of dust and soot.
Some Cornish mines even had huge ovens on the surface to keep the miners' pasties hot until it was time to eat – miners’ wives would score their husband’s initials on the left-hand side of the casing so they could tell them apart from all the rest. The pastry crust, which would be thrown away, meant that miners could hold their pasties without their dirty hands (possibly including traces of arsenic from the mining) touching their food or their mouths.
Despite where its story began, the Cornish pasty is now one of the most popular snacks in Britain. Now available in many different flavours the original is still the most popular 300 years later
Steak and Doom Bar Pasty Recipe
Nick Brown of Rowes Bakery, Cornwall, Winner of the World Savoury Pasty Championship 2014
1. Marinate Cornish Skirt Beef in Cornish Doom Bar Real Ale and Major British Beef Stock Base Paste for 24 hours.
2. Combine with traditional Cornish vegetables, (a mixture of potatoes, swede and onion) and season with salt and coarse milled peppers.
3. Encase in a robust Cornish short crust pastry and seal with a hand crimped edge.
4. Glaze with free range egg and decorated with a cow.
5. Heat and serve!