Ottery pie firm tastes TV fame and success

PUBLISHED: 14:06 05 July 2009 | UPDATED: 09:36 18 June 2010

AN OTTERY pie business has seen a remarkable turnaround in fortunes after its award success sparked a pasty war between Devon and Cornwall.

AN OTTERY pie business has seen a remarkable turnaround in fortunes after its award success sparked a pasty war between Devon and Cornwall.

Finnimore Industrial Estate-based Chunk of Devon has seen business rocket by 200 per cent after being crowned as the UK's upper-crust Cornish pasty maker in April- a decision that left bakers of the delicacy in Cornwall with a bad taste in their mouths.

The Ottery company will feature in prime-time Channel 4 television show Gerry's Big Decision next Thursday (July 9) after entrepreneur Sir Gerry Robinson was called in to boost the business earlier this year.

The show will see Chunk go head to head with the UK's last surviving major chair manufacturer in a battle for a cash injection from Sir Gerry.

Film crews followed owner Simon Byron-Edwards before his company's steak pasty proved a smash-hit at the first ever British Pie Awards.

Left struggling as a result of the credit-crunch just months ago, Simon's business has taken on eight new staff since its triumph.

And while a war of words continues over whether a Cornish pasty can be made in Devon, former chip-shop owner Simon has no doubt over the affect the achievement has had on his company.

"It's been crazy busy," He said "There have been heaps and heaps of orders.

"It's not just been the steak pasty. Business is up 200 per cent on last year- steak pasty orders have gone up around 20 or 30 per cent.

"Without question this has raised our profile. We have won awards before but this was quite a big accolade has opened doors for us.

"In our first and second year we made a deficit, but are making decent money now.

"About a year ago we doubled the size of our production unit and were doing quite well, but then banks got into the cycle of not supporting businesses, so unfortunately we suddenly had to find a lot of credit cards.

"It was a tough time there is no question about that.

"Things have been massively different in the last six months, even in the last three our sales graph has shot up off the charts.

Chunk now produces between 15,000 and 20,000 products a week, using locally sourced ingredients.

Viewers can find out if Simon convinced Sir Gerry to open his cheque-book next Thursday at 9pm.

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