AVENLY start to this week’s Apprentice. The final seven gathered on top of Tower 42 and as the morning light bathed Lord Sugar in an ethereal glow, a chorus of angels could be heard. Quite what this had to do with getting chicken feet on the cheap wasn’t clear.
This was the wheeling and dealing challenge. No elaborate pitches or marketing bombast to hide behind, just good old fashioned haggling and it was boys against the girls.
Given a list of ten items, the candidates had to find everything from a Singer sewing machine to a white truffle.
“Truffle? That’s the food, isn’t it?” asked Jamie. He wasn’t waiting to find out: his tactic was to hit the streets immediately, with him working alone and Chris and Stuart working as a double act.
Liz, leading Apollo, took a more measured approach, working out what each item was and where best to find it. Not that this filtered down to the rest of the team. Trying to sniff out the elusive truffle, Stella thought she’d call up Marco Pierre White’s restaurant and see if he could help. Sadly, Marco wasn’t available. Not to worry, she’d try Gordon Ramsay. That’s the spirit.
Despite this, the girls did well, getting all 10 items with relative ease. The boys had more trouble.
Jamie in particular had a stressful day. After trawling jewellery shops he finally found out what a 22 carat gold tikka was before spending hours tracking down a four-metre worktop surface. Man hasn’t hunted this monomaniacally since Moby Dick.
CHRIS’ AM DRAM
Meanwhile, Chris went in for a bit of amateur dramatics. To get a good deal he spun a variety of tales involving a tartan-loving gran in need of a wedding present and a taxi-driver brother about to fail his exams.
Incidentally if you’re looking for a business investment, Chris is good friends with a Nigerian prince.
But despite their haphazard style and incomplete shopping trolley, the boys still won and no one was as shocked as they were.
With the girls back in the boardroom, it all came down to that truffle, finally bought by Laura and Stella from a Knightsbridge restaurant. Needless to say they didn’t pay cost price.
Lord Sugar made his decision and this time there was no room for haggling.
Laura, you’re fired.