In previous series of the Apprentice at least one of the weekly tasks was carried out in a foreign country. However, with the recession biting - and the Eurostar costing marginally more than East Coast Trains - the Beeb decided to move the potential for an international incident closer to home this time around. To Edinburgh, in fact.
Tsk, as if we haven't got enough to worry about with the whole trams fiasco.
The teams were tasked with selling gourmet street food from a 'mobile catering unit' to the unlucky Scots. For the uninitiated, this is a 21st century re-imagining of the traditional fairground burger and chips van. But these days, the burger is a well hung Aberdeen Angus mince patty with handmade jalapeño relish, the chips are sweet potato wedges and the whole thing costs £9.99 plus VAT.
The vendors don't even spit in your food any more. How times have changed.
Project manager of Sterling (and professional Lancastrian) Jenna immediately suggested that her team sell pies, because clearly nothing says gourmet more than a steak bake. Luckily for her, Laura jumped in and suggested casserole instead.
I don't know about you, but when I hear 'convenience food' I automatically think of casserole.
"Blooming hell, I'm hammered. Let's get a kebab."
"Nah pal: I'd much prefer a slow cooked one pot stew with rosemary, carrots, onions and locally sourced beef".
Speaking of beef, Sterling hit a bit of a pricing roadblock when they found out their casserole would work out at £2.50 per portion. Turns out cows actually cost money: who knew?
But why put meat in it at all: they could have made soup instead. Soup's practically free, it's just water and lentils and suchlike. And they could have made it sound more Scottish by calling it broth...or possibly 'Seething Hatred of The English'. But broth is shorter.
Instead of accepting the potential cut in profits caused by using decent cuts of meat, as Sterling did, Phoenix's project manager Adam decided to see how many 'Italian' meatballs you could get out of one diseased lump of pig fat. Quite a lot, as it turns out. His meatball/pasta slop ended up costing just 50p a portion to make, quite an achievement if you discounted the fact it was potentially lethal.
The teams then hit the steep, cobbled streets of Edinburgh in an attempt to sell overpriced cardboard boxes of what was effectively expensive beef soup and sub-Greggs pork products to unwary, susceptible and confused pedestrians, i.e. tourists.
Despite the fact that innocent foreigners were probably their best bet for a quick sell, Katie encouraged her team to take their Italian muck to Gorgie Road and flog it to canny football fans. As you can imagine, this strategy had limited success. As Lord Sugar himself put it, Hearts don't even pay £5.99 for a striker these days, never mind congealed pasta. Ahaha.
Project manager Adam had more luck after figuring out who he was dealing with. You've got to hand it to the man: he may resemble a red faced, sexist deleted scene from Life on Mars, but he ended up shifting his stock, even though it meant dropping the price to two for a fiver. If he'd thought to throw in a few free jibes about Hibs he'd have sold even more.
Team Stew weren't getting many sales either, despite picking the more tourist-friendly location of Parliament Square just off the Royal Mile. It seems even visitors to our cold shores baulk at spending nearly seven pounds on some lukewarm casserole in a shoddy cardboard container. Scotpot? Leaksalot would have been a more accurate name.
Given the fact that Team Leaders Adam and Jenna seemed to be locked in an unofficial 'Stupid Off' throughout the episode, I've decided not to use the word winner to describe the end result.
The team who lost less were Sterling, with their better quality Hotscotbrothpot. The people who lost the most were Team Meatballs, a.k.a. Phoenix, chaired by red-faced rejected Bullseye contestant Adam.
Despite being about as useful-or welcome- as a pork sandwich at a kosher wedding, Adam was allowed to survive for another week. Instead, self styled Blonde Assassin Katie got the chop as she'd been in the losing team too many times, and her decision to sell their 'meat' balls at the footie instead of in the city centre meant they couldn't charge a high enough price.
It wasn't a satisfactory result. If nothing else, arrogant Adam deserved to be fired for crimes against food. It's a surprise he and the rest of his team weren't chased back across the border by a pack of enraged Hearts fans brandishing claymores:
"You charged us five neenety NEEN for rancid pig balls! Stahnd still while I kick ye in the cludgie, ye sassenach bampot."
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