With numerous quality awards to their name, including a double award in 2020 for both their bakery and their tasty products, Proper Cornish in Bodmin aims to be the best Cornish pasty maker in both county and country.
So where did it all start? Three Cornishmen, Phil Ugalde and brothers Chris and Dave Pauling, started trading from their kitchen table in 1988. Taking a stand for Cornish heritage and quality, they took the Pauling family recipe, worked with local farmers to develop ingredient specifications and started hand-crafting exceptional Cornish pasties.
The founding core principles of fresh vegetables, original filling recipes and hand-crimped pasties are still proudly adhered to today. Although steak is always a firm favourite, they offer over 200 recipes and hand-crimp a staggering 60,000 pasties a day.
When their kitchen table became too small for demand, they relocated to commercial premises on the Walker Lines Industrial Estate. One more move now finds the company in a huge, bespoke, refurbished state-of-the-art bakery with an adjoining modern office block.
Chris Pauling, managing director, told Bodmin Life: “To be called a Cornish pasty, it has to be made in Cornwall and only contain certain ingredients, which must be uncooked when the pasty is assembled, crimped at the side - not the top - and then slowly baked to develop and release the famous Cornish pasty taste.”
In addition to their hand-crimped pasty range, they also offer a range of high-quality sausage rolls, slices and turnovers and cater for meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans. Their new vegan range consists of 7 flavoursome recipes and is proving extremely popular.
Gerald Allen, operations director, told Bodmin Life: “There are many perks for those who work at Proper Cornish, including yoga sessions and subsidised massage, free access to golf and spa facilities at a local hotel, free pasties for lunch daily, fresh fruit weekly and seasonal festivities, as well as a new low-cost canteen and quarterly Director led barbecues (when restrictions allow). Employees also benefit from free health checks and flu jabs and a cycle scheme where bikes can be loaned for a weekend or for getting to and from work. Also, to support our employees, we have a team which manages mental health first aid as well as an employee assistance programme which provides a 24/7 confidential free helpline for all colleagues. Our care for the physical and mental health of our colleagues has been recognised by a Gold Healthy Workplace Award.”
The company is now a major employer in Bodmin, currently employing about 220 employees and is growing. With on-the-job training and opportunities, the food industry offers people a versatile and fascinating career. The Company pays competitive wages which exceed the National Living Wage, with an 18-year-old earning the same as a 23-year-old right from the start.
Proper Cornish is leading the way environmentally too. Its policy is to replace conventionally fuelled company cars with electric ones and to provide charging points. It has already started the journey to cut out single-use plastic in some of its packaging and is investigating an alternative to the pallet covers used by their contractors, with a view to completely eliminating non-recyclable resources. In recognition of a recent environmental project to remove single-use plastic from part of its process, Proper Cornish partnered with Plant One Cornwall to plant a number of trees native to Cornwall in the Flushing area.
What’s more, none of the company’s waste goes to landfill. Andigestion in Holsworthy, in one year, has converted Proper Cornish’s food waste into electricity that’s the equivalent to powering the average home for 22 years! Proper Cornish is embarking upon measuring their carbon footprint to help them further reduce their impact on Cornwall.