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Friday, February 28, 2020 - 16:00

• Gala celebration of Cornwall’s favourite food features hundreds of pasties

• Heat is on as World’s Fastest Crimper final takes place on the day

Cornish Pasty Week reaches its mouth-watering finale on Saturday (February 29) when bakers descend on the Eden Project for the World Pasty Championships.

Traditional Cornish pasties made with beef, turnip, potato and onion will line up alongside exotic creations with a big range of ingredients in the open savoury classes.

The hotly-contested championships, staged for the ninth time at the home of the famous Biomes, are open to amateur and professional bakers, juniors and companies.

Former champions will be well represented. These include the most decorated baker in World Pasty Championships history, Don McKeever from Bristol, who is reigning Open Savoury Amateur champion and has an impressive four wins and one second place to his name.

Don is part of a group of Bristolian bakers who have supported the competition from the beginning and were collectively awarded the prestigious Pasty Ambassador gong in 2018 for their tireless work in promoting the pasty in their home city.

Also returning is reigning Open Savoury Professional champion Jill Martin from Deal in Kent. Jill, who calls her pasties Kentish Knockers, bagged first and third in the category last year and is coming back to Cornwall to defend her crown.

For the first time the event is welcoming a team of people from the Cornwall-based homelessness charity St Petrocs. This includes Tommy Ainsworth, who has been homeless and is now being helped by St Petrocs. Chefs from Rick Stein of Padstow have been working with St Petrocs to deliver pasty-making workshops to help participants with their techniques.

Entries from around the UK include the Jamaica Patty Co from London, the Phat Pasty Co from Newport Pagnell and individual bakers from Sheffield and Swindon (as well as St Austell).

From Virginia, USA, The Pure Pasty Co. are going for a hat-trick of Open Savoury Company titles this year, following a debut win in 2018 with a barbeque chicken pasty laced with pineapple. Last year they were again victorious in the same category with a turkey and cranberry creation.

A team of 40 judges will be faced with nearly 200 pasties. All scores are totted up and prizes handed out at the prestigious Oggy Awards at the end of the afternoon.

Among the award sponsors are St Austell Brewery, leading millers Heygates, Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and Carters Packaging.

To deliver the championships Eden works closely with the Cornish Pasty Association, the industry body which represents the £300m-a-year baking industry west of the Tamar. All members are producers of certified genuine Cornish pasties.

The association runs the World’s Fastest Crimper competition and Saturday the four finalists will battle it out in front of a live audience in Eden’s Mediterranean Biome.

The association will also be running workshops in the Eden Kitchen where children will have the chance to make their very own pasty and pick up some perfect pasty-making tips from professional bakers. There is no charge but participants can make a voluntary donation to Cornwall Hospice Care.

All through the day Eden will be serving up a fabulous feast of music headlined by Celtic folk-punk giants Black Friday. Also high on the bill are Huw and the Greater Good, whose live shows inspire audiences to throw down their inhibitions like never before.

Eden spokesman David Rowe said: “The World Pasty Championships is a day of serious baking, great causes and brilliant music and is a fitting close to another memorable Cornish Pasty Week. We are so looking forward to welcoming many familiar faces and making new friends as we celebrate Cornwall’s most iconic food and some of its incredible varieties.”