The Apprentice blog: Episode Six

"What if someone comes to the stand and speaks Scottish? Will you be able to understand them?"

Sometimes, after The Apprentice has been on for a while, I kind of forget that Lord Sugar is a real person and not some finger-pointing firing machine, occasionally throwing in some low-grade puns in an attempt to assimilate the habits of real humans.

This week, to dispel such ideas, Sugar visited the candidates in their house. ‘Hello’ was about as much interaction he could handle before assembling the candidates in the lounge. Back in business mode, he revealed that he was sending the candidates to Edinburgh to tap into the market for gourmet street food. ‘The team who makes the least money loses... and one of you will be fired’ he rounded off mechanically.

Ricky Martin and Laura Hogg ©BBC/Talkback Thames; Image credit: BBC/Talkback Thames

Before being manoeuvred out the room Lord Sugar 2.0 appointed Jenna and Adam as team leaders. For Adam and Team Phoenix, ‘cheap’ was the order of the day. Adam decided to go with Italian food on the basis that pasta could be ‘slopped out like school dinners’ and, he suggested only half-jokingly, perhaps even bulked up with corned beef, single-handedly undoing Jamie Oliver’s years of campaigning in the process. Even Tom, who rewrote the rule book on being stingy during his way to victory in the ‘up-cycling’ task, was concerned.

Jenna and Team Sterling went with the perfectly acceptable, if slightly unoriginal, idea of adding a Scottish twist to stew. They refused to skimp on their recipe and bought some high-quality beef for their ‘Scot Pot’. They may have followed Lord Sugar’s brief more closely, but their cost price was £1.54 to Phoenix’s 47p – it wasn’t looking good.

But then neither were Adam’s ‘Utterly Delicious’ meatballs. On Katie’s advice, Team Phoenix chose to pitch their van outside Hearts’ stadium, in the hope of snaring some hungry football fans. But in setting their price at £5.99, they struggled to drum up much trade. ‘£5.99? They don’t pay that for a striker there’, Sugar would point out later. Jenna and company similarly struggled over in Parliament Square. Even the sweet and seductive tones of the bagpipe were not enough to tempt the tourists who apparently all stuffed their faces at breakfast. A move to another site outside the Scottish National Gallery would prove more fruitful.

Unlike Team Sterling’s second site. Somehow Stephen and Katie managed to convince a group of tour buses to allow them to try to bully their bewildered customers into buying food from their stall. No-one wanted to. But then Katie didn’t help matters: “Do you know what I’m selling?” she asked, bounding onto the top deck of one bus. “Pizza?” one unenthused passenger replied, on the rather solid evidence of Katie being dressed as Italy’s finest cheese and tomato export. “No...meatballs” she answered confused. Dough!

Back in the boardroom this meant, for once, justice was done. Last week Virgin Active ruined everything by deciding that 80s-themed exercise classes were the future. This week though, Team Sterling, despite a higher cost price, were awarded victory thanks to their patently superior product. The margin between the teams was a measly £20 though – or about two and half ‘Utterly Delicious’ meatballs.

Adam decided that Katie and Azhar were to blame, despite bosom buddy Stephen peddling lies left, right and centre. “Football fans were never going to pay £5.99 for food!” he said exasperated, despite being the one who phoned Adam saying they should raise the price to £8 at least.

Azhar, Adam moaned, ‘didn’t do owt’ this week – but he was very convincing when Sugar asked him why he should stay in the competition. All Adam could offer was that he’d be Lord Sugar’s ‘perfect’ business partner, without any reason why.

His Lordship was rightly unconvinced, thinking that Adam might be out of his depths. But, with this being Katie’s third time in the boardroom, the Sugartron coldly deduced that she wasn’t good enough for the competition. ‘You’re fired’ he said with steely eyes, and Katie was duly deleted from the competition.

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