Eighty years of pasty making and now Betty is a world champion
Today’s World Pasty Championships at the Eden Project in Cornwall proved the old adage that mother’s pasties are best as 88-year-old Betty Lethbridge, mother of Fisherman’s Friends singer John Lethbridge, won the Cornish Pasty Amateur title.
Betty, from St Kew, Cornwall, has been making pasties for 80 years. She said: “I’m shocked really, I didn’t think for one minute I would win anything. I did it to please John. He said to me ‘You make a good pasty, mother, why don’t you enter?’
“I’ve been making them for years and years. I started when I was eight years old. Mother used to make pasties so I used to roll the pastry out on a bench. You need to get really good meat to make a pasty and the seasoning is important.”
Also victorious was Chilean miner Jorge Pereira, who was in Cornwall as part of a two-month stay in the UK to visit his wife Gail Cleverdon’s family. Jorge won the Open Savoury Amateur category with an empanada Chilena, a traditional Chilean pasty made with beef, onion, hard-boiled egg, olives and sultanas.
Jorge, who doesn’t speak English, spoke through Gail. He said: “I feel very excited and happy to be so far from my country to win such a prize. It’s all about getting recognition for my country rather than winning.”
The highest marks in the competition were awarded to Cornish Pasty Professional winner Andy Heath from Bodmin, who scored 96 out of 100, and Open Savoury Professional winner Luisa Ead from Padstow, who scored 97 with a smoked haddock, white wine and mustard pasty.
In the company categories, West Cornwall Pasty Company were victorious for the second year running in the prestigious Cornish Pasty Company category. Daniel Beddoes from Bristol won the Open Savoury Junior category for the second year running.
Thousands of people flocked to Eden near St. Austell for a celebratory day which, as well as the world championships, included pasty demonstrations and workshops and a brilliant line-up of entertainment headlined by the Fisherman’s Friends shanty singers from Port Isaac. Group member Jon Cleave added to the pasty merriment as master of ceremonies on the main entertainment stage.
The event attracted around 150 pasty entries, a similar figure to last year, which was the highest to that point.
Marion Symonds, of Portreath Bakery, and a leading light of the Cornish Pasty Association was awarded the Pasty Ambassador award for her great contribnution to the industry. Marion has travelled extensively promoting the pasty and in Mexico she is known as “mama pasty”.
Marion, who led demonstrations and workshops with some of her team on the day, said “It’s absolutely amazing, I really love my job and and it’s great to be part of the World Pasty Championships at the Eden Project.”
Eden Project spokesman David Rowe said: “The fourth World Pasty Championships was a very memorable one for sure. Mrs Lethbridge’s win was such a heart-warming story. We commend the entrants who took so much pride in their pasties.
“To have pasty makers from the USA, Canada and Chile gave it a great international feel and there was a nice spread of entrants from different parts of the UK.
“The Fisherman’s Friends topping a fantastic bill made the day a very special one.”
The full list of winners is:
Cornish Pasty Junior
Winner – Michael Webb, 15, from Helston
Second place – Rosie Dymond, 13, from St Erme
Third place – Ettie Coonick, 9, from Wadebridge
Open Savoury Junior
Winner – Daniel Beddoes, 13, from Bristol with a barbeque chicken pasty
Second place – Amy Sparrow from Newquay with a chicken and sage pasty
Third place – Toby Black, 15, from Fareham in Hampshire with a smoked pork pasty.
Cornish Pasty Company
Winner – West Cornwall Pasty Company
Second place – Prima Bakeries
Third place – Simply Cornish
Open Savoury Company
Winner – Prima Bakeries with a peppered steak pasty
Second place – Chough Bakery with a Christmas dinner pasty
Third place – Simply Cornish with chesse and onion pasty
Cornish Pasty Amateur
Winner – Betty Lethbridge from St Kew
Second Place – Glyn Meredith from Penryn
Third Place – Terry O’Connor from Watford, Hertfordshire
Open Savoury Amateur
Winner – Jorge Pereira from Chile with an Empanada Chilena
Second place – Don McKeever from Bristol with a “boeuf bourguign-Don”
Third place – Bradley Allen with an escargot (snails) in a garlic, mushroom and cream sauce pasty.
Cornish Pasty Professional
Winner – Andy Heath from Bodmin
Second place – David Timmins from Penryn
Third place – Karolina Albertova from Bodmin
Open Savoury Professional
Winner – Luisa Ead from Padstow with a smoked haddock, white wine and mustard sauce pasty.
Second place – David Timmins from Penryn with a Sunday roast pasty.
Third place – Nick Brown from Liskeard with a Cornish pork and Rattler pasty.