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Culture Shock: Pasty Man

Cornish Pasty Co. brings an English favorite to Tempe

 by Sam Friedman
 published on Thursday, October 27, 2005


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"The traditional English pasty is essentially a short crust pastry similar to, but better than, the pot-pie," says Dean Thomas, owner of Tempe's Cornish Pasty Co.

The pasty originates from Thomas' home county, Cornwall, a picturesque peninsula in southwest England where it was once the staple food of tin miners. The tin industry has since died, leaving Cornwall very poor, but the pasty has continued to thrive both in England and in American mining towns, where Cornish miners came in the late 1800s.

Thomas speaks with the distinctive burr of a Cornish accent and makes no mistake in his pronunciation of the pasty as "pass-tee." He says he's proud of his roots and decided to open the Cornish Pasty Co. after years of boredom working for others. The restaurant opened in January 2005 and, according to Thomas, was an instant hit.

"We broke even from day one and have already sold over 30,000 pasties," he says. The restaurant serves a selection of traditional meat and vegetarian pasties, but also offers some more sophisticated options like the rosemary chicken pasty, which combines chicken breast, brie, new potatoes, fresh rosemary and roasted red peppers. Thomas says all the pasties are handmade using fresh ingredients - a commitment he thinks explains the restaurant's success.

"The difference is that we can offer a good, fresh, meal for five or six dollars, whereas if you want that anywhere else in Tempe you're probably going to have to make do with some fake, plastic crap," he says.

Reach the reporter at sam.friedman@asu.edu.



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