Sunday 18 February 2018

The Apprentice candidates try to sell fish fingers to vegan restaurant, make £1.87 profit, and a boy is first to be fired

Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

***WARNING: SPOILERS*** And they're off! The 18 The Apprentice candidates launched their bid to impress Lord Sugar on the first episode of the new series on Wednesday night and it's probably no surprise to learn that they failed rather spectacularly.

Among the gaffes committed by the troupe of business wannabes was an attempt to sell fish to a vegan restaurant and one team managed to make a paltry £1.87 profit on the ominously named 'Fish Task'.

The wide-eyed candidates were first introduced to Lord Sugar's new sidekick, the formidable Claude Littner - he of terrifying interrogator of finals past with Sugar declaring, You think this process is tough, it just got a whole lot tougher."


The formidable Claude Littner - the new Robin to Lord Sugar's Batman
The formidable Claude Littner - the new Robin to Lord Sugar's Batman

The candidates were then divided into two teams which were, for the first time in Apprentice history, not based on gender.

The first task was simple - they had to haggle for the best price on seafood before transforming it into profitable lunchtime meals to flog to the public. 

“I’m sure you know of my reputation - I don’t like people to suck up to me, because if I wanted to be loved I’d go to Tinder," said Lord Sugar, rather redundantly.

Making a profit is the name of the game so with that in mind Team Versatile and Team Connexus (as bad as they sound one of them could have been called Team Sugababes, if Dan had his way) headed off to Billingsgate Market in the early hours of the morning.

Flogging fish to City workers at lunchtime
Flogging fish to City workers at lunchtime

They haggled to the best of their abilities and and then had to mass manufacture their ingredients into tempting lunches for rabid City workers.

Sam offered some advice to his teammates Selina and Richard on how to sell their calamari, “I’m a wordsmith…my advice when you’re talking about the calamari is bring out the spicing of the cayenne, the sourness of the lemon, the crunchiness…really kind of set their sensual taste buds.”

Mergim was perhaps the most hapless of the bunch as he tried to sell fish fingers to a vegan restaurant.

“I’m going to offer you a once in a lifetime opportunity…fresh fish!" he declared.

Ruth, meanwhile, turned on the charm with the punters, “Gosh aren’t you solid? Aren’t you lovely?!”

And Scott lost the run of himself entirely, “I’ve got some fresh fish fingers, I practically scuba-dived and got the fish from the sea.”

April took Dan and Brett back in to the boardroom with her
April took Dan and Brett back in to the boardroom with her

At the end of a very long, very tense day, the teams arrived back to the dreaded boardroom to find that Team Versatile, project managed by Selina (with Charleine, David, Gary Mergim, Richard, Sam, Scott and Natalie), landed a respectable £200.29 profit.

It was all the more respectable given Mergim's vegan encounter punctuated Versatile's day with a few moments of utter uselesssness.

Dan got the chop
Dan got the chop

Team Connexus, oh team Connexus... They didn't get off to a great start.  They got off to an appalling start.  Their pathetic profit of £1.87 didn't best please Lord Sugar who branded it a "disgusting result".


April was project manager while Brett, Dan, Aisha, Elle, Jenny, Ruth and Vana were all responsible for carrying out her directions.  Dan's advice on selling didn't appear to work so well so April brought him and Brett back into the boardroom while Team Versatile bagged a sushi masterclass from the head chef of Nobu.

“Part and parcel of the criteria of the winner is they’ve got to be a bit of a jack of all trades, they’ve got to be able to dirty their hands, go out and sell, market things and Dan, you’ve failed on one of the things already in that you can’t sell and you say you can’t sell," said Lord Sugar.

Read more: Everything you need to know about The Apprentice 2015

"Brett, I can understand why you took on the task of cooking the stuff. What I’m struggling to understand is having had experience in watching – albeit many, many years ago – how a fish restaurant operated, that you didn’t do a better job in the kitchen.

"But April, you’re the Project Manager here, you’ve got this food blog, this was right up your alley. You let Brett run riot in the kitchen, you relied upon Dan with the numbers and this is not the qualities of the Project Manager and it is for that reason that I am struggling very badly at the moment."

Ultimately, though, it was Dan who heard those immortal words...

"But Dan, you say the purchasing is all down to me and you were the only one that didn’t sell anything…Dan You’re Fired.”

Episode 2 airs Thursday 15th October, 9pm on BBC One.

Read more: The Apprentice 2015: Meet the contestants (and their massive egos)

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