Peter Jacobson and Jon Earl, co-owners of Dinkytown’s Lands End Pasty Company, had a lot riding on their entrance in last year’s Pasty World Championships.
Then, as Minnesota’s plucky pasty purveyors arrived at the airport for their direct flight to Heathrow, they found a rogue light had malfunctioned in the plane’s cockpit. And that, as they say, was just the beginning. That g.d. light bulb would set off a chain reaction of travel hell that a) is worthy of its own prize, and b) cost the pair their shot at competing in the 2019 World Pasty Championships.
After they spent a night in a hotel and taking a bonus jaunt to Newark, their total journey included more than 28 hours of flight delays and only deposited Jacobson and Earl in the U.K. as the competition was concluding.
Undeterred, the uncle-nephew duo are giving it another shot. After all, this is in a new decade, folks! Surely walking (flying) away victorious would feel even sweeter given these added trials. But why is this a prize Lands End set its sights on in the first place?
Jacobson says, despite the insistence of some Cornish regulars, Lands End’s multi-year fixation on competing in the Mecca of pasties isn’t entirely about taking home a prize. “It’s such a big deal in Cornwall -- it’s their number one industry -- so it would just be a lot of fun to meet people where that’s what they do, pasties are their lives.”
To be clear, this is also Jacobson’s life; it’s what he does. Lands End Pastry has served varieties of this savory pie (so special it’s been given “protected status” by the European Commission) for coming up on six years this June. It’s a family affair, too. When his uncle, Earl, went pro with his pasty baking, Jacobson went all-in with him from the start.
On Saturday, February 29, Jacobson and Earl will bake two of Lands End’s 30 flavors at the championship.
“We can’t enter the [traditional] category because they also have to be made in Cornwall for that, because it’s a protected name. So we will be entering the open savory category,” explains Jacobson. “Pretty much anything savory for a filling is eligible for that category.”
They’re betting on a savory elk and their hot jerk chicken varieties, the latter of which is dialed up to 11 thanks to the inclusion of Harry Singh’s hot sauce. Both are regular offerings on Lands End’s menu, even if they’re not available daily, but can be found on their Facebook page each morning.
Customers have until February 26 to stop into their shop to try their myriad pasty flavors. Then Jacobson and Earl will shutter Lands End for a week, as they once again set off across the Atlantic, testing their mettle. Looking to support them in their journey? The pair have established a charmingly modest GoFundMe to offset the costs of lost business and travel expenses.
Keep up with Jacobson and Earl’s journey, send them a little travel luck, and check out Lands End Pasty Company’s daily menu offerings on their Facebook page.