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Last night saw the first episode of this year’s ‘The Apprentice’ and no matter how many times I watch the programme, the size of the contestants’ egos never fails to amaze me…..and last night was no exception.

With self-proclamations ranging from “I want the money, cars and the girls”, “I’m a global phenomenon” (really?? I certainly remain to be convinced), “I’m prettier than the rest” (no comment), to my personal favourite of “I’m a Swiss Army knife of business skills”; this group of 18 individuals certainly don’t lack confidence.

However, and in time honoured tradition, it soon became apparent that their confidence levels did not necessarily mirror up with their business skills. With just five minutes of the task gone we had already witness two extremes: we saw team “Connexus” buy tuna from the first vendor they came across at the largest fish market in the UK with virtually no negotiation on the price. This was swiftly followed by team “Versatile” who were driven purely by the cheapest price they could find for the squid to make calamari, to the point they ended up buying sub-standard produce, which was virtually no use for making calamari!

As for pricing structures, I’m always amazed at what little thought or planning actually goes into costing up the products and working out the retail price and associated margin. Being a northerner I would expect to pay more than I’m used to when buying food and drink in London….but £9 for a take away tuna salad in a plastic box – come on team Connexus!!

It was great to see the contestants paying attention to food hygiene rules (something I would worry about if I was offered a tuna salad in a plastic box from a contestant on The Apprentice with a film crew following them). Team Versatile were forced to throw away £150 worth of (sub-standard) squid which had been left in direct sunlight at a temperature of 15˚C instead of the regulation 5˚C or lower. However, at the end of the day the challenge was lost, in spectacular fashion, by Connexus who made, what is possibly a record breakingly low, profit of £1.87 (compared to Team Versatile’s profit of over £200) having missed the all-important lunchtime trade and then struggled to find anyone willing to bite on their tuna salad bait at £9 a time!

So with team Conexus in the Boardroom, team captain April (“experienced food blogger” who must be used to paying £9 for a tuna salad for her lunch) brought back in Dan (“I have made every mistake in the book but have learnt from them”) and Brett (“I worked in the kitchen of a sea food restaurant but omitted to mention this during the fish cooking challenge”).  With £0 worth of sales under his belt, it was the very likeable Dan, who got himself labelled by Lord Sugar as “more Desperate Dan than [his self-proclaimed] Alexander the Great”, who was gutted (excuse another fishy pun) to be on the end of this week’s “You are fired” from Lord Sugar.

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