Credit: Fernando Andrade,

Victory in ‘Pizzagate’ case

Robyn, our legal director, is well-versed in many things – law, finance, small dog-husbandry.

Now she can add to her CV the highly-specialised skill of advanced oven identification having spend the last few weeks learning all about different types of cookers and stoves.

Do you, for example, know your roaster from your rotisserie, your slide-in from your wall-mounted? Robyn does and she could tell you all about it in great detail. Although I wouldn’t recommend it.

The reason behind this string to her bow is a recent case in which we represented a client who had been challenged over whether an oven they sold to a customer was a pizza oven or not.

This is how #pizzagate unfolded. (Technically, if it had been folded, it would have been a #calzonegate).

Our client supplied an oven to a man in London with a high crown and steam options (the oven, not the man). The customer said he was a running a bakery and this seemed the right option.

Oven for pizzas

During installation, the customer asked whether his new oven would cook pizzas and he was told that it would indeed reach a high enough temperature to cook frozen and other manufactured pizzas.

The customer duly paid a deposit but then refused to pay the rest, claiming that he wanted a pizza oven and that his new equipment, despite some fancy options, was not up to the job. Or, indeed, the temperature.

He then took our client to court, asking for £4,000. We subsequently counter-claimed as the pizza guy had not paid in full.

That’s a bit like me not paying my local pizza parlour for making me my usual squid ink and wild boar stuffed crust job (known among us cognoscenti as a ‘Black and Blue’) on the grounds that  the boar wasn’t actually wild and had been just a little annoyed.

London court case

The court case, heard in London in early May, was struck out and the baker was left with ragu all over his face as our client was awarded judgment. We won because our recently-qualified expert found that the oven DID reach temperatures high enough to cook the kind of pizza required.

Our client won £7,000, covering costs and the balance of the cost of the oven.

As Robyn explains, the customer had asked for high crown and steam which is ideally suited to cooking bread. She learned that at oven school and was just about to start telling me about the benefits of pyrolytic self-cleaning hobs and standalone Smegs when I remembered I had something far more interesting to do.

Top that!