Month: April 2021
Coming of ageQ. When will the new laws outlining age discrimination come into effect?A. New regulations are planned for October. They are expected to have more impact on employment relations than any legislation in recent years, particularly unfair dismissal and new rights to redundancy and promotion. Types of spendingQ. What is the difference between revenue expenditure and capital expenditure?A. Revenue expenditure covers what you spend for business purposes on those items likely to have no lasting value after the year-end. These include rent, insurance, certain building repairs, wages and salaries, stationery, heating and lighting. You can set the cost of these against your taxable income. Capital expenditure covers semi-permanent or permanent items that you use in earning the profits of the business and which will have a value beyond the end of the financial year. Depending on the size and nature of your business, the year in which you spend your money and the nature of the expenditure, you can claim valuable capital allowances. Your accountant should be well aware of these.Debt liabilitiesQ. Are shareholders and partners liable for the debts of their enterprises?A. Shareholders take no such risks, as creditors have recourse only to the assets of the company. However, partners are personally liable for the debts of the partnership down to the shirts on their backs.Advertising without consentQ. I have it in mind to erect advertising signs outside my premises, but am worried about being taken to court if I skip the planning application process. Is there a way around this?A. Unless you do something quite outrageous, you can get on with your promotional work under what is termed ‘deemed consent’. However, you must be prepared to alter the material or remove it should the planning authority require you to do so.Deemed consent does not cover the display of advertisements for goods and services not available on the premises, although posters detailing charity events are allowed.Employment statusQ. I have a lady who ‘does my books’ once a week. She has recently started to help me out as a part-time computer operator for which I pay her by the hour. For tax purposes, is she employed or self-employed?A. It appears that your book-keeping lady has a business of her own and so is self-employed when looking after your accounts. However, this does not mean she is self-employed in any other jobs she takes on for you, so you must treat her as an employee whether you and she likes it or not. If you are in any doubt, seek advice from your local tax office or a solicitor. Capital allowancesQ. I am due to set up in business and have been advised I should take my entitlement to capital allowances into account before buying equipment. Why should this be so?A. These allowances will enable you to deduct a proportion of your expenditure from your taxable profits and so reduce your tax bill. You can claim on the cost of vans and cars, machines, scaffolding, computers and similar items, as well as plant and machinery, and as a small business just starting up these benefits should be considerable. In some cases, you will be able to claim 100%. However, the size of these allowances vary from tax year to tax year, and on the size of your business, so ask your local tax office to keep you up to date on this.Customer serviceQ. What does reciprocal service mean?A. Experts agree that the most loyal customers are those who feel they are contributing to the business activity and not just buying. It is argued that employees need to be trained to learn from customers and customers encouraged to share more of their experience with employees. Bearing in mind it costs a lot more to acquire new customers than to retain the ones you’ve got, this could be an idea well worth thinking about.Attracting investmentQ. I am looking for an injection of cash into my business, but my applications are turned down, mainly because I’m new and lack security. What can I do?A. The rules governing the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme, a joint venture between the Department of Trade and Industry and approved lenders, have recently been changed to provide loans of up to £250,000 for companies with a trading record of less than five years. Although plenty of money is available, getting it will be no walkover. Lenders will want to see a carefully prepared business plan and an accurate description of the market and its size, customers, competitors, sales forecasts supported by hard evidence, and financial projections of at least one year’s future performance.The help of a bank manager or accountant will be essential.Job referencesQ. An employee failed to turn up for work and a week later a rival employer wrote asking me to provide a reference. Am I obliged to do this?A. There is no legal requirement for you to provide references. However, if you feel so inclined you can respond with a ‘statement of employment’ giving details of how long the employment lasted, the job title and a description of the duties. It is unwise to comment on competency or suitability for any future role. Avoiding late paymentQ. A large company is becoming worryingly slow in meeting my bills, but continues putting valuable business my way. How can I obtain what is owed without causing offence and possibly missing out on future contracts?A. Future jobs will be worthless if you don’t get paid, so consider taking advantage of new rules and start charging interest on what is due. State your terms clearly on all invoices, consider introducing an early payment discount, and always follow up on an invoice. There’s plenty of advice on the Small Business Service internet site at www.sbs.gov.uk Trademark protectionQ. I want to protect my company’s trading name. Will use of the ‘TM’ symbol or the letter ‘R’ in a circle be enough to ward off the vultures?A. The symbols you mention are used by companies which have already registered their names, so they are not for you. For real protection, you should apply for trademark registration yourself. This isn’t easy. The Patent Office examiners will question you closely and it will cost £200 minimum. You can expect a full examination report within two months of your application. You can read all about it at www.patent.gov.uk/tm/howtoapply
Q. How did you get to be chief operating officer of the Aga Foodservice Group? A. I am 52 years old and have been involved in various sales, marketing and divisional management roles. I started out at Calor Gas in computers and moved into sales and marketing, then controlled a number of its retail outlets. I went from there to the Glynwed Group, which turned into the Aga Foodservice Group five years ago. Altogether, I have been with the company for 27 years. I started in consumer products at Glynwed as sales and marketing director of the cooking operations. I then moved into the foodservice and bakery side with refrigeration in 1986. We made our first acquisition five years ago with Mono, when I became chief operating officer of Aga Foodservice, and we have grown ever since. In that time we have bought Miller’s, Belshaw, Adamatic, Bongard and Pavailler. Q. Could you explain Aga’s place in the baking industry?A. Everybody knows the Aga Group for its cast-iron cookers range, but it is the world leader in bakery equipment. We supply deck ovens, mixers, provers, dividers and everything associated with a high-quality scratch bakery – we’ve got fingers in all of those pies. As well as the companies already mentioned, we own Bertrand-Puma, which makes mixers and dividers, and CFI, which supplies dough retarders and provers in France. In Italy, we have a mixer company called Esmach. We have also opened a sales office in China and the Middle East.Q. Are you still on the lookout for more acquisitions?A. We’re always looking around Europe and the US. From a product point of view, we are pretty well established and we have the bulk of the equipment side sorted out. We’ve already got over 50% of the French market and we’re very strong in the UK. If we could find a company that had good coverage in a country where, perhaps, we are not so strong, or had a customer base that we had not been able to access, then we would clearly look at it. We’ve been working very hard in the last year to bring the businesses together, so we are now building on the skills, the products and the customers that we already deal with.Some of the things that have been happening are very exciting. For example, we won the Tesco contract for Europe, which takes us into Poland, Romania and the Far East. Both the supermarkets and craft bakers are investing, and Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King hinted recently at the Baking Industry Summit that continued investment in bakery was a very important ambition. That is echoed by other supermarkets that we deal with. There is a growing understanding that freshly baked bread attracts customers into stores and to buy other products. But it has to be really good bread. At Sainsbury’s, which is now doing four bakes a day, it has changed its bakery operations significantly, and it has worked. Q. What are Aga’s ambitions for the UK market?A. One is to provide a better all-round package. We have invested heavily in Mono, backed up with a service and maintenance package from Miller’s, which is now our bakery service empire with nearly 200 engineers. It also has a general service, maintenance and repair workshop, where we have invested in state-of-the-art facilities and built new premises.Infestation is a big issue and mice are a real problem around bakeries. There was a dreadful case recently where mice were found in Somerfield’s bread. Miller’s has a specialist cleaning division, which is growing quickly because everyone is becoming more aware of the need to control infestations. Q. What sort of equipment are your customers buying at the moment?A. Supermarkets are fitting more deck than rack ovens. When it comes to variety, then five decks with different temperatures and different times, baking a wider selection of products, is the answer. We are starting to fit more and more of them in the UK, including Jamie Oliver’s Flour Station bakery in London. Through our Bongard company in France, we have the market leader in steam tube ovens, which are seen by the French as the ultimate for baking artisan breads. Super-heated steam is passed through tubes around the decks of the oven, which gives a very even heat.Q. Why are consumers increasingly keen to buy artisan-style breads? A. I suppose it is a backlash against the Atkins’ bread ban. It is incredible how the media can influence people’s thinking, even though they know, deep down, that bread is good for them. As soon as the Atkins empire collapsed, I think people came flooding back.Q. How does bakery equipment fit into the health debate?A. Levels of acrylamide (which may yet be classified as a carcinogen) in dark bread increase very quickly. I think it is something that is getting more attention than it really needs in a bread context – it is more of an issue with French fries. Acrylamide only forms at the last moments of baking, so you can control it through the length of firing time. Golden brown breads, which most people like, are fine.In terms of manufacturing equipment for healthier foods, doughnuts are a case in point. We have produced a product called Thermo-glaze, where frozen doughnuts are put in a prover and thawed. They then pass through a conveyor oven with a tightly controlled temperature and time. This produces a doughnut without frying with around 50% less fat, and most people can’t tell the difference. Wal-Mart has picked it up in a big way in the US and Tesco is trialling it. Q. Finally, how do you unwind when you are not at work?A. I like good food and wine, so we tend to eat out. I also like to keep fit – I run and row at the weekends. I have got a passion for cars and I enjoy driving. My children are now working so I do not have to run them around any more. But I used to enjoy taking them to sporting events. And I have a nice house with a bit of land so I potter around that!
The Revoband Travelling Oven from Double D (stand J600) is claimed to give consistently good results making products from pizza and morning goods to craft breads and confectionery. Double D says it has invested heavily in its air flow system, which gives the user control over both top and bottom heat. Parameters can be set for each recipe from the menu-driven PLC controller, while fan speed can also be controlled. The oven can be indirect, gas or oil-fired.
Sandwich bar chain O’Briens revealed this week it plans to have 80 more shops and business canteens in the UK bearing its brand by the end of this decade.”We are already the market leader in Ireland and Scotland. Now we plan to be the market leader in England and Wales,” said the chain’s UK franchise director Paul Stanton.The franchise operator, which sells its brand to independent sandwich operators in suitable areas, said it hoped to have 12 new 0’Briens outlets up and running in the UK by this Christmas – followed by 20 next year (2008), 20 in 2009 and 30 in 2010.Stanton said the company was keeping the locations secret for fear of alerting the competition, which includes Marks & Spencer and Pret A Manger.The chain, which has suppliers including Fresh Fare and Nortons, is rolling out an extended menu and a new look, with a focus on more soft seating. A bigger range of pastries, quiches and iced juices is also planned.Already, 70% of the UK’s 142 outlets, which include company canteens, have been refurbished.O’Briens’ new retail and operations director Andrew Moyes, a former Marks & Spencer marketing manager, said: “These days many people have less time than ever to enjoy their lunch or coffee breaks. So we’ve looked at enhancing the speed of our service at peak periods, without compromising on quality.”
Q How did you come to be involved in the baking industry?A I joined the baking industry in 1948, when I was 15 years old. I left school on a Friday afternoon and started work on the Friday evening! I come from a long line of bakers. My grandfather, father and three older brothers have all worked in the baking industry, as well as my own sons.Q What were the origins of J McDonald & Sons?A In 1963, a lawyer and I opened a business in Kirkintilloch, Glasgow, called Dainty Cakes, but it felt like I did all the work and he kept all the money! After we parted company in 1965, another baker in the town offered me the use of a van. I baked in my own house for a year and also did some baking for him, before setting up in my own shop in the east end of Glasgow in 1966.After a few ups and downs, the business grew quite steadily. I acquired five shops between 1972 and 1980, and then built up to 10 shops during the ’80s after moving to a new bakery in Govan. During this time, we tried our hand at wholesale, but it didn’t work for us and so we refocused on retail baking.Q But the 1990s brought a change of direction?A Yes. With the decline of the traditional high street, we sold five of the shops, upgraded the bakery with new technology, and moved in the direction of bakery/coffee shops. We spent a lot of money on buying a shop in Glasgow city centre; some people thought I had lost the plot, but it was the best move I ever made and the shop is still going great guns to this day.It was also around this time that we streamlined our product lines – for example, we had been producing 10 different types of scone, but reduced this to just one, and we sell more of them now. Overall, the company is busier than ever it was. Two of our five shops are in Glasgow city centre and all of them are within six miles of our bakery at Govan.Q For what products is the business best-known?A We are very well-known for our fresh goods – our filled rolls, Danish pastries and savouries. Our best-seller is rhubarb & apple pie.But running coffee shops is not just about bakery products; you must offer a good cup of coffee. We are in the shops on a regular basis checking the quality of the coffee and we sell thousands of cups a week.Q What does a typical working day entail for you now?A I was supposed to have retired three years ago, but I am still the chairman of J McDonald & Sons and come into the office every day around 9am to sort out phone messages, for example. I now spend a lot of my time mingling with customers in the shops. I never got to do this before and it’s now my favourite part of the job. It gives us great feedback on what products are working for us.Q You obviously believe it’s important to get this feedback on the business?A Yes. Bakers are the hardest-working people I know, but they don’t always take the opportunity to stand back for a moment and look at their businesses. We also keep an eye on our competitors, such as the supermarkets, and keep a look-out for their new products and prices, and this can lead to change in our own business.Q What do you regard as some of the key issues facing the baking industry?A There are so many to choose from – technical, financial, training and legislative. There is a huge amount of unnecessary bureaucracy and the government seems to have made no effort to look at deregulation. That attitude has really got to change. I think bakers should be focusing on addressing customers’ concerns about diet and health, and the role of bakery products in a balanced diet.Bakers also need to do more to expand the industry’s pool of labour, particularly on the craft side of the business.Q How important is the SAMB in meeting these challenges?A I have been a member of the SAMB for more than 40 years and realise that, by working together, we can achieve so much more.The association can offer help on legislative, environmental and a whole range of other issues – it’s a real safety net for companies in the baking business. It’s also a marvellous vehicle for speaking with a single voice to government departments, for example. You have only to look at the recent opening of the Scottish Bakery Training Centre at Larbert to understand what the SAMB can achieve. This is just one of many outstanding successes.Q What ambitions do you harbour for your year as SAMB president?A I would like to pass on my experience to a younger of generation of bakers where possible. I would also like to help develop the SAMB’s membership: there are a lot of smaller Scottish bakery firms out there who do not think the SAMB is for them, but who could really benefit from being part of the association.For example, by using the insurance company recommended by the association, I have saved 40% on my insurance over the last two years. And that has paid my SAMB membership dues for years to come.In my year as president, I would also like to get across the point that baking should not occupy 24 hours a day of your life. Bakers need to have time to spend with their families and on other interests.Q Have you managed to sustain a number of non-baking interests over the years?A Yes. I did my first marathon – in New York – when I was just short of my 50th birthday and went on to do 16 marathons in total, with a personal best time of three hours and 29 minutes. Nowadays, I cycle for at least an hour a day. I have also been involved for a number of years in raising money for orphanages, poor houses, children’s hospitals and so on in the Ukraine. The money collected from contacts and friends in the Glasgow area – as well as from bakers in Scotland and England – helps to pay for everything from beds and food to medicines. I have been across to the Ukraine 10 times now and it’s magic to see the help we are able to give them.Since last year, I have also been supporting the Scottish International Relief’s ’Mary’s Meals’ project; this was started in Malawi five years ago and now provides meals for 170,000 children every day when they go to school. Again, I have had plenty of support from friends in the baking industry and plan to visit Malawi some time soon.
The Worshipful Company of Bakers is to host a harvest festival service in aid of the Bakers’ Benevolent Society (BBS) on 7 October.The service, which will feature bellringers and a full choir, will take place at St John the Baptist church on Epping High Street.It will start at 5pm, followed by a reception at the BBS’s sheltered accommodation for retired people of the baking industry and its allied trades.All are most welcome ? please contact the Worshipful Company of Bakers on 020 7623 2223 to confirm attendance.
SEPTEMBER – OCTOber Highlights in the coming months include the glamorous Baking Industry Awards in September and a Bakers’ Tour in France
September1 – 2 Continental, Italian and French BreadsLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 5 Basic BreadmakingLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 9 The London Food FestivalLocation: Business Design Centre in IslingtonContact, tel: 020 7240 2444email: [email protected] Basic Breadmaking, one-day courseLocation: Ludlow, ShropshireContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] Ludlow Master ClassLocation: Ludlow, ShropshireContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 14 Advanced Practical Biscuit TechnologyLocation: CCFRA, Chipping CampdenContact, tel: 01386 842104email: training @ campden.co.uk12 The End of Zero Risk RegulationLocation: Peterhouse College, University of CambridgeContact, tel: 01223 765320email: [email protected] Retail Fraud: Identifying Issues and Developing Effective SolutionsLocation: Chartered Accountants Hall, Moorgate Place, LondonContact, tel: 020 7920 8637email: [email protected] fraudadvisorypanel.org14 Italian Breads, one-day courseLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] FlatbreadsLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] Gail’s Garden PartyLocation: Oriel Place, off Hampstead High Street, LondonContact, tel: 0208 457 2095email: [email protected] – 19 Going ProfessionalLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] Baking For A Healthier Diet: developing products for optimal nutritionLocation: CCFRA, Chipping CampdenContact, tel: 01386 84210422 – 23 Whole Grain Baking, two-day courseLocation: Bread Matters,CumbriaContact, tel: 01768 88189922 – 23 Wood-fired Oven WorkshopLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 30 Baking for a LivingLocation: Bread Matters,CumbriaContact, tel: 01768 881899October1 – 8 Bakers’ Tour in FranceLocation: Rhone valley, FranceContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 5 Basic Principles Of BakingLocation: CCFRA, Chipping CampdenContact, tel: 01386 8421046 – 7 Italian Baking, two-day courseLocation: Bread Matters,CumbriaContact, tel: 01768 8818996 – 10 International Richemont Club ConferenceLocation: CroatiaContact, tel: +385 1 662 2608email: [email protected] – 14 Basic BreadmakingLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] Bakers’ Fair North West 2007Location: Bolton Arena, BoltonContact, tel: 01293 846596email: [email protected] or visit [http://www.bakersfair.co.uk]16 – 17 French Breads, withsourdoughLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447Email: [email protected]
Consumer lobby group Which? reckons several bakery products could legally carry health and nutritional claims if proposed EC regulation gets the thumbs-up.The EC’s regulation (EC) 1924/2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims on Foods was passed in May 2006 and aims to ensure foods comply with specific nutritional criteria or ’nutrient profiles’, in order to carry health claims. However, Which? now believes that “the Commission’s criteria for which foods can carry claims has become unscientific and fundamentally flawed”.Bakery products identified as having less than the Commis-sion’s threshold amount of saturated fat – 8g per 100g – include a single Tesco jam doughnut, which has 5.7g of saturated fat per 100g. Products such as doughnuts, custard tarts and ready salted crisps could therefore carry health and nutrition claims.The proposals, which were due to be put forward at the Standing Committee on General Food Law meeting on 27 March, have now been put back until after the European Parliamentary elections in June, due to a “lack of consensus on various issues”.
Mention an industrial estate in Slough and it may well bring to mind an image of David Brent, the uncomfortably weird boss of a paper merchant, played by Ricky Gervais in BBC comedy The Office. However, the particular industrial estate on this occasion is home to speciality bread-maker Montana Bakery and, thankfully, has not a single Brent-like character in sight.Being awarded the accolade of Baker of the Year is certainly something to write home about, although self-proclaimed workaholic Piero Scacco admits he’d rather be sitting in the back row than out in the limelight. Thankfully, a bit of persistent nudging finally got through to him and he sent off his application form. And he does admit that it was a great experience to be acknowledged by the industry when he was crowned top baker in the Vandemoortele-sponsored category at the Baking Industry Awards last year.What shines through with Scacco is his passion for the whole industry. He has had a varied career in terms of jobs and location, and the effect of this is evident in the range of Continental-inspired products from his current firm Montana Bakery, where he is chairman.Born in Sicily, Scacco’s family then moved to Rome where he started his illustrious career in food, in the hotel and catering industry. Starting out as a commis chef, he developed an interest in becoming a patissier and went on to work as a pastry chef at various locations, including the Grand Hotel in Rome, and a stint in Venice, before getting a job in Paris at The Ritz. In 1958, he moved to London, where he worked at The Savoy and The Waldorf hotels.But it wasn’t until 1964 that his entrepreneurial streak shone through, when he decided to open a bakery shop in Trinity Road, Tooting Bec, London. “With the knowledge I had from Italian and French restaurants, I began by baking products for the restaurant and catering industry,” he explains.As the business grew year-on-year, he was approached by Marks & Spencer (M&S), which asked him to produce a variety of speciality bread rolls. He then moved the business to Wembley Trading Estate and progressed with M&S, as well as supplying Tesco and Waitrose. Deciding to bow out at the top, he sold the business to Northern Foods in 1990, after successfully growing it to a £55m turnover.”I had seven fully-fledged production bakeries at that point, and I stayed with Northern for two-and-a-half years, before digressing into the area of bakery machinery. I realised that was not my gift, but I had a contract with Northern that I couldn’t compete with them. But by 1998, I was able to come back and I started Montana Bakery. I am a very passionate baker, manufacturer and confectioner and it was a most enjoyable time, creating a business from scratch that could grow; that’s why I came back to it,” says Scacco. “I’m still very hands-on in the bakery, as that’s my passion.”He admits that, when he sold his business to Northern Foods, he didn’t need to come back to work for financial reasons, but because he loves his work. “At 71, I still enjoy doing 12-hour shifts,” he says – and he’s not joking.Upon creating artisan bakery Montana, he approached M&S, which was happy for him to create some new products for them. Montana now also supplies Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, has a turnover of around £18m and employs around 290 people. A large part of its business is supplying the foodservice industry and it also exports to countries, including Holland and Ireland – an area Scacco sees as having potential to expand in the near future and which led the company to exhibit at IFE this year.Experience has taught him that the price and timing have to be right for him to invest, as there is no point taking risks if you are not under any pressure. For example, Montana has a separate unit all ready to go for the production of handmade biscuits and biscotti but, due to the recession, its launch has been postponed.This doesn’t mean to say that Montana has put the stoppers on new product development – far from it. Scacco says it’s important to continually innovate and develop your product range, but that there is no point in launching products that customers will view as being too expensive in the current climate.The bakery manufactures in a nut- and GM-free environment and “handcrafts, but on an industrial scale”. It supplies ambient (20%), chilled (30%) and frozen (45%), with a bit of capacity to spare says Scacco. In terms of trends, he says there has been a noticeable increase in the popularity of frozen over the last five years. Frozen pizza bases now make up a large portion of its sales and the factory is capable of producing 10,000 bases per hour. Other big sellers are stromboli, ciabatta, garlic bread and the cheese rolls it produces for Waitrose. Montana also produces “normal things”, says Scacco, including laminated bakery products such as a croissants and pains au chocolat, but speciality bread is what it’s known for.More recognitionIn terms of the Baker of the Year Award, Scacco admits that, as he has a huge past history in the industry, it was a great thing to achieve. His staff are also appreciative, as it brings more recognition to the company, and Scacco’s win is publicised on Montana’s literature. The judges described him as an icon and agreed that his passion for the industry and everything in it singled him out as the winner. “It was a thrill and I felt very special and very privileged to have achieved that,” he says of his moment in the spotlight, despite his reticence to stand in it.That’s not to say he is quiet when it comes to his view on things. You only have to start talking about the effects on the taste of pro-ducts from reducing salt, the current situation regarding bakery training or the issue of food wastage, and you realise he’s passionate not just about his business but about the food industry in general. For example, he believes one good thing that may come of the recession is that consumers will think twice about sell-by dates and will throw less food away. Obviously, he says, he wants people to continue buying bread – and often. But if they use it all up, rather than throwing away half a loaf after a couple of days, then that’s no bad thing.Scacco seems far from finished with the industry yet – and probably wouldn’t know what to do with himself if he wasn’t working. His aim has always been to look after his business as best he can and he knows he is lucky to have found he could turn his passion into a successful career. His parting comment is more a motto for life: “If you find something you love doing, stick to it.”—-=== How did you feel on the night? ===”It was a thrill to win. I felt very special and very privileged to have achieved it”—-=== Why he does what he does ===”I am a very passionate baker, manufacturer and confectioner and it was a most enjoyable time, creating a business from scratch that could grow; that’s why I came back to it.”
Those Aussies, don’cha just luv ’em? Not content with calling us poms and the Americans seppos, they now have to wade into the argument as to who has the world’s most bonzer cake (see STW July 31). As they would say in Strine, they big-note themselves that it’s London to a brick they’ve cracked the world record, rocking up with a giant coconut-covered, chocolate-soaked sponge cake half the size of a Vee Dub.Called a Lamington, this little 1.3-tonne ripper took three days to bake and was presented last month for an official weigh-in for the Guinness World Records at the town of Ipswich [northern Australia not Suffolk].Hundreds of eggs and about 70kg of coconut were used the make the cake, baked to celebrate the national day held in its honour. Apparently Lamingtons are a culinary institution across Australia – we could go into the history here, but we haven’t got space – and are rolled out at citizenship ceremonies, cake stalls and on national holidays. Two utes ferried the cake to homeless people and construction workers so they could bog in, after documentation for the world record attempt. If their skite is fair dinkum, they’ll probably be grinning like a smug fox and crack open a few coldies for a beano; if not, they’ll probably spit their dummies.