It’s 5pm on Week 6 and the candidates are happily playing Wii Twat when LordAlan makes one of his increasingly predictable surprise visits and everyone plasters on their best surprised faces. The task is to travel to Edinburgh (no main feat on Virgin East Coast) and set up a mobile restaurant embracing the ethos of the “revolution” that is gourmet street food. After buying ingredients and making the food, the team that makes the most profit on sales will win.
Lord Alan chooses team leaders this week, and in an attempt to ensure that someone really useless goes, Adam is put in charge of Pheonix (Steve, Tom, Azhar, Jade & Katie) whereas Jenna is made manager of Sterling (Nick, Gabby, Laura, Ricky).
Adam feels he’s perfect for street selling, what with his barrer boy experience. He’s also not bad at stereotyping: “Scottish people eat deep fried mars bars, haggis…” he starts before a wincing Tom suggests Sushi. Adam’s having none of that weirdo foreign muck though; “Who eats raw fish?” he retches. Katie suggests pasta and Adam thinks it’s the best idea so far. Meekly Azhar suggests “chicken wrap”, but everyone pretends it was just the wind.
Jenna’s also confident (“I can’t cook, but I worked in a restaurant for ages, so I have an idea”). Gabby thinks a Scottish theme will still go down well amongst the many tourists in Edinburgh, but Laura wisely reminds everyone of the “quality” remit to the task, so they decide upon a casserole with a Scottish twist using Aberdeen Angus beef, which immediately sets Ricky worrying about the task.
“You’re a bit of a foody aren’t you Tom” bellows Adam aggressively, as though he’s outing a paedophile. “You know the score with that sort of thing” he adds suspiciously. Tom agrees and is co-opted as kitchen assistant.
Adam then bizarrely appoints Steve as manager of the market research/marketing team of Katie & Azhar (Jade seems to be given her own separate role which is also, erm marketing). You get the feeling Adam really wants to slap his team members on the arse as he self importantly gives them their roles. Especially Steve. Anyhow Steve and Katie go to check out a gourmet food fair and phone back brimming with more tales about scallops with celeriac purée than a whole afternoon’s worth of “Come Dine With Me”s. “I get it” he blusters impatiently. “High quality ingredients”.
On the train oop North, Nick calls a city centre hotel to suss out the best selling spots in Edinburgh, and although he’s tempted by the footfall of the derby match at Tynecastle, he reasons that the punters might not be best suited to gourmet stew. Katie however thinks it’s a bloody brilliant opportunity as there will be 40,000 people around (divide that by a few hundred maybe) and despite Steve’s warning that the average football fan won’t want more than a burger and a beer (or up North a beer and a beer) she’s adamant that she’ll take responsibility if it all goes tits up, so Steve’s eyes go “kerching” and they feed the idea back to Adam.
Both teams get top chefs to help them, so Adam is meanwhile dressed in chef’s white and hat and looking a lot like Pob as he tried to argue with top Italian chef Matteo that it would be cheaper to use dried rosemary (“It’s about profit, not taste”) whilst Tom insists that they should maintain at least a shred of “quality”. Whilst Adam looks chastened, an observing Nick Hewer complains that with Adam it’s all about “Cheap, cheap cheap!” Adam does manage to get Matteo to agree for them to use his name on the product, which would be nice and authentic sounding without going all Dolmio ad on everyone’s arse. However roving Marketing Manager Steve has other ideas. “We’ve gone for something very slick” he boasts, announcing, after a silent drum roll, “Utterly delicious” (did that little gem beat “Not bad” and “You can live on it but it tastes like shit”?). For some insane reason Adam allows Steve to go with this name, with the proviso they at least add the word meatballs to it, which would be kind of useful.
Jenna’s chef gives everyone a chuckle by saying “Well hung”, but of course he’s talking about the best Aberdeen Angus beef to stew away until there’s no flavour or texture left. He tells Jenna that a good casserole would cost about £2.50 to make, but when she phones the team Gabby is horrified. “You don’t get meals in actual restaurants that cost that much to make” she cries. I’m guessing Gabby needs to get out more. However she and Nick do come up with the fab name “Gourmet Scot Pot” and some nifty packaging.
The teams adjourn to the kitchens where Jenna worries after spending £200 at the butchers that they may have bought too much meat. Ricky points out that the other items in the casserole cost £68.82 and Jenna starts messing with the dreaded calculator with her mental number blindness before Ricky helpfully points out that comes to £268.82 which means each portion they make will have cost them £1.52. No pressure.
Over in the Pheonix kitchen, as Azhar squints at the shrinking meatballs which are starting to resemble mummified testes, Adam’s still convinced that “if we can sell these at £5.99 and make £5.80 a portion we’ll smash this!” Lovely. They set up outside Tynecastle the next morning and Azhar’s sent off draped with an Italian flag to drum up business (at this point it sounds like Adam mutters “Go fight a lion or something” and I’m still trying to work out if that’s just really crap racism. Adam just doesn’t seem the type does he?).
Sterling have apparently chosen Parliament Square for the post-Church punters, which almost seems as misguided as Pheonix’s footy location, as when the godly spill out on the square it soon becomes apparent that the ones who haven’t had their porridge this morning are full of the love of Christ and have no need of Scot Pot. Laura and Ricky lure a piper to play a jig or too besides the van with the promise of a free lunch, but if anything it possibly dissuades potential business.
Tom’s convinced that £5.99 might be too high a price for pasta and meatballs as he and Adam nervously eye the crowd of many bellied men clutching things in batter heading up the road to the match. However Katie calls saying that she and Steve think the price should be raised to £7.99, because rubbing out the price and adding a higher one in front of thousands of people could never be construed as taking the piss. Adam’s not budging (“There’s café’s round here doing full brekkies for 2.99”), an despite Azhar telling Katie to say “Don’t panic”, the gingery Yorkshire scrote lowers the price to £3.99 (“Three for a tenner”) and manages to sell a couple of portions before the early match kick-off time of 12.30pm . Surely they’d have been better off selling grub to punters leaving the footy when they’ve been stuck standing with no food for ages?
Steve comes up with the masterstroke of getting a spot on the Edinburgh city tour bus beguiling passengers with descriptions of meaty balls and directing them to Grassmarket, the second afternoon location he’s chosen for the van (I may be wrong but I think the market at Grassmarket finishes in the morning – oops). In practice this means Steve and his marketing team legging it up an insane amount of steps to get to the Royal Mail and catch the bus in order to confuse an handful of passive tourists (lets face it if they can’t be bothered exploring beyond sitting down and letting someone drive them around and tell them what to look at, they’re not likely to make it to Grassmarket). To make matters worse, Katie is dressed as a pizza. “Guess what food we’re selling?” she asks brightly. “Pizza” everyone chirrups. “No you’ll have to think outside the pizza box” she says and everyone glazes over as she adds “It’s meatballs!” After two stops, they have no takers (because it’s a stupid idea), and they then miss the next bus back to Grassmarket so Adam insists they “Sack off this bus tour now”.
Jenna goes through lows (nobody selling, realising Gabby can speak fluent French to a Gallic customer when Jenna can’t even speak fluent English), then a brief high of a couple of customers and back to low in parliament square and eventually at 2pm, Ricky and Laura have a reccy of Princes Street and despite a potential threat in a stall selling cheap Aberdeen Angus burgers, Jenna’s convinced that the footfall will make it worth moving there. It’s the right decision and should have been made hours ago.
By 3pm, everyone’s desperate to sell, but Pheonix can afford to drop their price (Adam “We made the product for under £100, I don’t care as long as we shift it”). At this point a squirrel runs past and everyone makes like the dogs in “Up” and shouts “Squirrel” (I was kind of disappointed after the trailer that squirrel wasn’t on the menu). However, as things become more tense he gets redder and redder and wonders where “Kaytay” is.
Poor Jenna has to be cagier about dropping prices as it would eat into her margins, so Laura and Ricky are taunted into sales overdrive. Laura starts sounding like a flirtatious Ivor Cutler “Have you had your tea?” and Jenna ultimately thinks they’ve lost. Will there be an amazing surprise?
In the boardroom, Lord Sugar’s unimpressed by Adam’s insistence that pork is a nice cheap meat (“But also the key to quality meatballs!”). “Was you trying to keep the cost down?” scowls the wrinkly peer, “Where was the gourmet side”.Adam ropes Tom in to big up the product with his poncy food speak, and Tom points out that the meatballs were “made to an authentic Italian recipe using FRESH ROSEMARY”. Next the price is scrutinised “£5.99 a portion to Rangers fans… they don’t pay that for a striker now!” plus the fact they “missed a big trick” not going with the personalised chef’s name but instead going with the “not very Italian” sounding “Utterly Delicious Meatballs”. Given the selling location at first perhaps “Old, Firm Meatballs” would have worked better?
Sterling get away relatively unscathed with Jenna’s team all backing her, and Jenna pointing out that she’s a Northerner* so prefers traditional food. (*”I never noticed that” cracks Lord Sugar). However their choice of location and spend cause a few raised eyebrows.
Anyhow the scores come in.
Pheonix spent £90.25, sold £388.29 so made a profit of £298.04
Sterling spent £268.82 but sold £588.60 worth, so made a profit of £319.78
So Sterling won by £22, surprising even Lord Sugar (“You must have done well on the selling side”) and as punishment he sends them off to swan around on (and fall off) segues at a 5 star Country Club. That’s Country Club.
Meanwhile Pheonix are sent to Losers Café with a thoughtful “Hmm well you can’t cook the books…” so they can all sit around looking a lot less smug than they did five minutes ago when they heard Sterling’s spend.
Back in the boardroom and Adam gets stick for his cheapskate attitude and not listening to the market research feedback on quality (“I seen things like those meatballs on the floor of the elephant pen at the zoo”), but most fingers point at Katie for her crazy targeting of footy fans. She insists that she’s paid £6 for a burger at a football match. “Where do you go? Chelsea?” scoffs Lord Sugar.
Steve plays mind games with everyone over his contribution claiming that he took responsibility for calling it a day on the bus idea before deflecting attention elsewhere (“You’re missing a trick picking on people who contributed when Azhar is sitting there quiet as a mouse”). Tom picks up on Steve’s eagerness to claim responsibility for good ideas and deny bad ones such as the Grassmarket location (“Why do you lie so much at this table”), but Steve’s still chipping away at his chosen fallguy (“The contribution from Azhar was nil”). Even Azhar knows he’s deflecting the blame (“You make a mistake.. you pass it on to someone else”), and eventually he gets Steve to admit he was responsible for the second location fail. But Steve’s work is done and after some unconvincing dithering, the clueless Adam brings Katie and Azhar back into the boardroom.
Lord Sugar thinks 13 years running a market stall has limited Adam to thinking in terms of buying cheap and selling high, and as Adam denies this his forehead goes so red and blotchy he looks like an albino kamikaze pilot. Azhar puts the boot in (“He didn’t take control”), but Adam insists he isn’t out of his depth (“I kner wha I’m doin!”). “In Adam’s defence” Azhar points out “He passed all the responsibility to Steve to make the decisions”. Ooh nicely played.
Adam accuses Katie of disappearing on day two (Katie: “Oh god that is soooo untrue!”) and pleads with Lord Sugar “Keep me in this process. I’ll show you what I’ve got”. Lord Sugar retorts that we’ve already seen that (and it doesn’t look like much) in this task. “It was good of you to ask me to step up to the mark” Adam honks gracefully.
Azhar argues that he’s committed and driven having grown his own successful business which he funded from a redundancy package. Katie however moans that she feels scapegoated ever since she was first in the boardroom. Whinging won’t get you nowhere love and Lord Alan’s heard enuff. He compliments Azhar on having come out of his shell and made sense “compared to some other people” and tells Adam that he let other people drag him down, but gives him another chance (boo!). Katie is therefore toast, having been in the firing line three times Lord Sugar’s unconvinced and she’s packed off to the Taxi of Regret whence she moans that she was robbed, but seems relatively chirpy about her future prospects (if only she knew then that they included being almost leg humped by Gino D’Acampo on “You’ve Been Fired”).
Adam’s card is properly marked (“You borderline got away with it”) but he acts all humble (“I understand it Lord Sugar”) and he returns to the house where everybody’s face falls when he enters (Jade looks particularly miffed). Azhar gets a bit of revenge by letting everyone know that it was “touch and go” with Adam. “He also got a very stern warning” lies Adam, who really does seem to have a bit of a problem with Azhar.
Never mind Adam. Next week’s task involves selecting items that will sell on the street. You’ll be perfect for that.
Anyhow sorry I couldn’t make this week more interesting. They really are a dull lot this year.
Liking: Tom, Azhar, Jade
Meh: Nick, Gabby, Jenna
Disliking: Steve, Ricky, Laura
Sick of the sight of their stupid red face: Adam
Bye bye: Katie, Duane, Jane, Michael, Maria, Bilyana