Friday, 11 April 2008

Cooking Up Trouble

Episode 3 Aired 9 April 2008

Its business as per usual for the first 1 minute and 24 seconds. If you haven’t committed the London porn and catchphrase montage to memory just yet click here.

Previously on The Apprentice, dirty laundry was the order of the day. The boys managed to win a contract with a hotel and washed, dried and ironed theirs. They won the task, got sweaty and bonded. The girls meanwhile wasted time airing theirs in public and lost. Shazia’s whimper as the axe swung down still makes me feel slightly tearful. But that was last week people, live in the now.

Its 6am, it's dark and the phone starts to ring. I am hold my breath without realising it, ‘please’ I beg ‘let Alex’s PJs be in the wash’. My heartfelt plea is rewarded with... shit, it’s the Celerie...In a rug? And she already has a damn scarf on! Its Francis, Sralan would like to see them at the Tate Modern and the cars will be there in 30 minutes. Little tousled heads are poking out of doors, Celerie heads back upstairs shouting 30 minutes and the ballet of revolving shower doors (is Claire wearing her pearls as she comes out of the shower?) and electric toothbrushes begins.

Does a nice aerial shot of the Tate Modern count as London Porn? Sod it, DRINK. It’s raining as the candidates stride purposely into the building and on to the escalators. Oh, it’s a bit from the opening credits, as they stand still on the escalator Sralan is striding purposely through the galleries to their meeting point. Nice juxtaposition there.

Sralan is talking about how the Tate is a great example of the ‘redeployment of a building’. I guess this has something to do with this week's task but I am distracted by Lucinda’s outfit. This week she is resplendent in a tartan beret which seems to have heather pinned to the side. Possible of the lucky variety she bought from a passing gypsy to repel Celeries evil eye. She is also wearing a very fetching green scarf/shawl/pashmina and a monochrome skirt [I kind of hope she stays quite a long time purely for outfit watch. I can't wait to see her eviction coat - Rad].

OK, so the task, take two pubs and put on a theme night. Pubs are suffering in recent times (and for this I sincerely apologise. I stopped drinking when I got pregnant 3 years ago and it seems I sent the whole industry into decline. Whoops). It sounds straightforward, so to help the teams bugger it up comprehensively, Sralan is not letting them choose their team leaders, he is doing it for them. Step forward Ian and Sara. The team that comes back with the most amount of profit is going to win, the team that doesn’t is going to lose and from within that team someone is going to get fired [I thought this was a bit early for Sralan to choose PMs. Isn't it usually week 4 or 5 when he does that? Dammit, I need my formula intact. - Rad].

The nice voice-over man expands slightly. The teams have 24 hours to transform a pub into a fully themed restaurant serving a range of 3 course meals in a style of their choice. I am a bit disappointed they aren’t actually being asked to organise a piss up in brewery, it would have made my job easier. In the girls car, Sara is trying to be a friendlier team leader than Alpha enjoyed last week. ‘If I am talking too much and not listening, please tell me’ rabbits Sara, ‘Just slow down for a start’ suggests Helene ‘The problem is I go too fast, you know when I was at school....’ interrupts Sara. ‘You’re doing it now’ interjects Helene with a smile and the opportunity for a fascinating insight into Sara's school days is lost. Listening is clearly Sara’s strong point then.

The boys have the Duke of Hamilton pub. Team leader Ian commits to giving, a 110%? No clear and concise management to ensure that they get the next treat from Sralan? NO DRINK. In a frankly scary move Ian asks to go round the room and get their individual commitment to winning this task. Rafe is up first and he is giving…YES 110%. DRINK! [Oh Rafe, 110% is so over. It's become the catchphrase of contestants on The X Factor. Why not come up with somethign new like 341% or something? - Rad]

We are treated to the interview clip of Ian's ‘There are winners in life and the others that I can’t spell, can’t say and won’t say’. Am I the only one shouting LOSER at the TV whilst making the appropriate hand signals? So to the brainstorming, getting the theme right. Hang on a KFC minute, did someone just say chicken in a basket? American Dinner, says Lee McQueen. Alex suggests mash, sausage and pies etc. It’s a pub known for its award winning ales so traditional English makes most sense to me too hot lips. Michael suggests Italian, pizza and pasta. Yes for once I agree with him they are quick and easy to cook. Whoa hang on there, ‘light bulb moment?’ ‘shoot it down or keep it up there?’ Alex looks as confused as I feel [me too. What the hell WAS that? - Rad] but they’re off. Italian flags, white table clothes, fake moustaches and faker accents for those waiting tables. Why have the Chuckle Brothers just sprung to mind? Sealed with a cry of Renaissance and all fists in the middle of the table together.

Seriously, do boys do this because they daren’t risk slopping off for a quick hand shandy? [And once again, one of my co-writers brings to mind unpleasant mental imagery about the boys from Renaissance - Rad].

Over at the King's Head, we have the girls. Jennifer Maguire suggests a murder mystery night. Sara looks like she’s chewing a lemon. Claire suggests classic English: also a good idea. Sara has swallowed her lemon and suggests Bollywood night. Hmm. Who’d want curry rather than a pie in the middle of the afternoon, interjects Claire. Frankly, right now I’d have both and then head over for an Italian but I’ve been on a diet for 5 days. [I did think Claire's piece to camera about how she totally disagreed was going to be one of those moments where she would either be totally vindicated or totally fired - Rad].

Sara's ‘rounding it up’, which is candidate speak for ‘we are doing my idea so suck it up.’ Oh, Nick seems to have voted for Bollywood too, I wondered where he’d got to [this episode was generally great, but it had far too little Nick and Margaret for my liking - Rad].

The boys are dividing up roles. Kevin is head chef with Simon as his side kick. I bet he cooked in Bosnia too so he is sure to rock at this. Ian tells Kevin he’s shit with no personality, he didn’t phrase it quite like that but ‘everything that comes out of that kitchen, on your head be it.’ Wow, the buck's already being passed and they’ve barley started.

London Porn.

Jenny Celerie, Jenny Maguire and Helene are in charge of promotions while Sara, Claire and Lindi are in the kitchen. The kitchen girls head off to a local Indian restaurant to basically steal their menu while the boys brand their night. ‘A Taste of Italy at the Duke of Hamilton’ suggests Rafe. They love it so much they repeat it several times in ecstasy. ‘Oh, and we can all feign Italian accents’ he continues clearly on a roll. ‘Write it down’ Ian is instructed but didn’t Simon make that suggestion earlier? No time to worry about that, Ian doesn’t know how to spell accent. The rest if the table spell it for him. That is nice the way they are all bonding isn’t it?

‘So they don’t poison anyone, both teams get a kitchen advisor’ says voice over man. Thank fuck for that!

Kevin tries out his ideas, he’s a culinary adventurer apparently. So what Italian delights can we expect? Spag Bol and Carbonara with bacon…or ham…or chicken and crème fraiche. Is he waiting for Jack the advisor to tell him he’s right or will he keep naming random food stuff indefinitely? Baked mushroom with salt and pepper pureed into a sauce? His resemblance to Matt Lucas is doing nothing to help the fact this is descending into a comedy sketch. Margaret’s not impressed either. £30 latte machine? Coffee as a desert?! Wash that man's mouth out with tiramisu [Coffee is in no way a dessert, I agree. However, to not have proper coffee for an Italian meal would also be ludicrous - Rad].

While the kitchen team head out to get ingredients, the marketing team of Rafe, Alex Ian and Michael put the finishing touches to their glossy and expensive menu. They just need the prices so they call Kevin. '£4.25 for soup?' scoffs Ian, ‘where is this pricing coming from?’

‘Well you price it then’ snaps Kevin and in a retort which has already gone down in the annals of The Apprentice as both toe curling cringey and magnificent, Ian replies, ‘I am concerned, Lee McQueen is concerned...’ he expands on his concerns but I can’t hear or see through my own laughter or tears.

I’ve calmed myself now, its OK. Simon's smacking his fist into his hand and getting all excited about dealing in absolutes and facts. Is he back on his time in the Army or the price of a Panini? I’m hungry again, I would cop for the episode all about food wouldn’t I.

London Porn.

The girls get free Saris for them to wear in return for free advertising at Bollywood night. They also go for tickets (are they menus too?) to sell and get them printed for free. Get in the girls and I suspect Sralan will approve. But Nick is concerned a dog's dinner is all they’ll be serving if they don’t pull their fingers out and actually get some food.

Sara and Claire are not getting on, but really its quite restrained as arguments on this show go.

Michael calls to question the pricing. Kevin’s getting haughty at being questioned. He has paid £4.25 for soup in Guildford. Sadly he is over ruled. This pricing and buying of ingredients has ‘one whole chicken per pizza' written all over it.

The boys stand around a market trying to work out what ingredients they need and in what quantity. Kevin’s calculation of tomatos to bowl to customer equation just made my brain bleed a bit. Alex calls, he has negotiated the menus down from £2 each to £1 each. Ian asks if Alexs thinks this is a good idea, well Alex just negotiated 100% off, so yes he does.

Eh? Would a 100% off not mean they were free? Does he mean 50%? Cos my maths is shit but not totally non existent. Anymore of this and I shall have to lie down. Ian is getting Alex to make the call, what a pussy.

The boys door to door giving away their expensive menus, the girls are selling their free ones for a fiver. Is it a menu or a ticket? Anyway it gets you straight to the front of the queue and doubles as a £5 off voucher. They are smart. Meanwhile Simon can’t even record an answer phone message for the telephone bookings. This is less impressive but I’ve just realised that Renaissance Events fits well with an Italian theme and I do like it when things fit.

London Porn. Drink!

The boys never did buy anything from the wholesalers. I assume the sellers withered away and died when Kevin calculated tomotoes. So instead, it's Dolmio from Tescos [The spectre of cheese from Makro looms large - Rad]. Ian has a calculator that he uses to keep track of their spending, and the figures are not pretty. Why not just choose Tesco Value pasta sauce as it's loads cheaper, and every little helps? (I’m sorry I tried to resist but like Jordan at a premiere it just popped out.)

While the boys spend over £300, the girls have done their shopping locally for less than £100. That’s good but Sara’s bought the wrong spices. That’s a bit of a pain but not like they are a major part of a curry, oh, hang on…. [Spices from MAKRO! DRRRRRINK! Also: who buys spices from Makro rather than an Indian foods wholesaler? Also also: Indian food without Garam Masala or Cinnamon??? Fools. - Rad].

Meanwhile, the boys have forgotten ciabatta bread, black bags and a tin opener. They ask the sales boys to pick them up but they are not happy. Lee McQueen in particular is not happy, he swears quite a bit so Ian hangs up and goes himself. Nice strong management skills there.

The girls may have sold 45 tickets at a fiver a pop (which is er……£225? God no more maths please) but lunch is not ready to be served. In fact I don’t know what’s in that pot but it shouldn’t look like that.

The boys are open though and here come the orders. I am disappointed to note a lack of dodgy Italian accents on Rafe and co’s part but its probably for the best. Kevin’s upset because people are erm ordering items from the menu but they aren’t meant too, he’s not doing the full menu. He gets a bit shouty cos ‘that’s what chefs do’. Whatever blondie - chefs wear hats too.

Lunch is off but did Sara (that’s Sara not ‘Sarah’ Helene) actually take responsibility or not? I am not sure because they are all yipping at once again. The boys are back off to Tesco again, and so far the food they have managed to serve is tasteless, cold, disgusting and bland. Oh, Dolmio that’s not going to help your sales. Lee McQueen is not happy, he’s in the kitchen and he don’t want no backchat (fools - sorry but he is definitely channelling Mr T) as he just had to give away 2 main meals. Lee McQueen has tips for successful Italian cooking, these include removing the skins from tomaotos and ensuring that spaghetti is cooked. Lee McQueen has a point (and I pity the fool that don’t listen to Lee McQueen)

Back in Tesco, the boys haemorrhage another £123. Just think of all those club card points and vouchers for schools though. Meanwhile the girls have secured themselves a Bollywood dancer from somewhere. Jenny McGuire just needs to get him some music. English, rap or Indian’ he enquires. There is an Irish woman in front of you dressed in a sari who has recruited you to dance for a Bollywood night so what do you think Einstein? Tsk. Luckily Indian is ‘alright.’

The girls start welcoming customers. What’s this personalised service they are inflicting? Intimate, personalised service Lindi? No! I don’t want to be interrogated , I don’t want to chat, I don't want to know your name. I want you to serve my food and then fuck off so I can talk to the person I came to dinner with. *shudders* [Princess Lindi is obsessed with personal service? Remember last week's 24-hour pants hotline nonsense? Can't wait to see her as PM... - Rad].

The boys are outside having a pep talk before service starts. Kevin appears to be running this, who is the team leader again? *checks notes* Oh, Ian.

Michel seems to relish saying words like ‘massive’, 'meat’ and ‘filling the hole’. [Must you lot always be so filthy? - Rad] Shame then that despite spending a lot of money in Tescos they are running out of food again, items like pizza. But Ian has a cunning plan - he’ll just serve people half a pizza instead of a full one. I can see that going down well. Off he sends Michael, those plates are artfully arranged but still half full and the customer (because he’s not dead) rumbles Michael straight away. 'The chef made me do it' squeaks Michael before removing the offending plates and running back to the kitchen.

O dear, here comes the dancer to end Bollywood night. I can’t watch, this is painful (and unrhythmic) and what’s Nick doing right down the front? If he’s not careful Patrick Swazye here is gong to give him a lap dance.

O the horror. No! No more. My eyes.

Thank god for London Porn (drink. It's time for the boardroom, so lots of bluster from the team leaders. I want to win, I gave it my all etc etc.

Now the Boardroom tends to make me lose a bit of interest if I am honest. They squirm, squeal and backstab and rarely do it with much class. However the total silence that meets Sralan's question as to whether Ian as a good team leader is riveting and painful. Simon says sometimes ‘silence is thunderous’: a poet, a cook and a laundry assistant on a par with Dot Cotton. If I wasn’t ideologically opposed to his accent I could fall in lust with him.

Simon is actually quite keen to show how he did the more menial parts of the task. ‘I was the bus boy Sralan, I chopped onions’. ‘Ah Chopper Smith’ Sralan replies. Simon has been given a nickname, high praise indeed and Sralan must like him because he doesn’t shoot him dead on the spot when Simon mistakenly calls him Alan, nice recovery mate, amazing what I shared love of football can do eh? I try and not think about Simon having more than just physical abilities.

So was Sara a good team leader? It's Claire that steps up and says yes, there were a few initial problems, but they over came them. Sralan turns his attention to their tickets. He is practically purring, not all the ticket holders turned up which made them money for nothing and the girls started their service in profit, that’s got to be a first? He is obviously impressed because he doesn’t really lambaste them for not being ready to open at lunch.

So to the figures. The boys had takings of £844.97 but they spent a whooping £543. This gives them a piddly £301.97 profit. The girls took £795 but with a total spend of only £190.73 they win with just over twice (that’s the last bit of maths my brain is bleeding) the profit, a grand £604.27.

The girls win an evening in a country house being taught to cook by a professional chef, is it just me or I that a bit of a bus man's holiday? [Ah, Busman's Holiday. Now there was a show. - Rad]

The boys are off to the greasy spoon. Ian has lost, similar to a word that’s not in his vocabulary. Like that quote was never going to come back and bite him on the bum!

The girls make crumble and drink and get on, that won’t last.

So Ian, you lost and you are happy to take some of the blame but really its Kevin’s fault. Kevin meanwhile is not worried, not vulnerable and did a great job so he’s alright. For both his sheer arrogance and the fact that his little piggy eyes are too close together I almost want him to be fired but I think he probably is safe. Choose wisely Ian.

London Porn.

Sralan has the boys back in and he’s annoyed because they took more money than the girls but still lost, ‘it’s the epitome of blowing in the wind’. Hang on, blowing in the Wind is a Bob Dylan track, or is that Catch the Wind? either way, Sralan, the phrase you are looking for here is pissing.

So in a roundabout way Sralan says whose fault was it? Ian says Kevin and Kevin pulls a face. This bit's always like being back at school, eventually someone will retort with ‘well you smell’. Kevin’s right that Ian did use Kevin’s position as head chef to shift responsibility to him. Every question he is asked he is bouncing it over to Kevin. This won’t work, everyone knows the team leader needs to accept just enough responsibly for failure to show a degree of humility but not too much. Who else is in the firing line? Simon. Well now you are up shit creek with no fucking paddle me old mucker because while you seem as incapable of reading the room as you are at leading a team, everyone else has realised that Sralan loves Simon. Difficult communication style? You just gave Simon more rope to hang you with. I pity the fool.

Can Lee McQueen’s voice get any lower or gravellier? Anyway in conclusion, they buggered the whole thing up because they didn’t do basic costing and Sralan is bitterly disappointed, they haven’t got a ‘bloody clue’ DRINK!

Ian’s bringing back Kevin and Simon. At this point in a certain chat room I happen to frequent 10 people virtually scream READ THE FUCKING ROOM!

Whoa there Nelly, what’s with Francis sex chat line voice there [Was that Frances or NotFrances, though? They are really confusing me with receptionists this series - Rad]? She just purred at Sralan, is she after a pay rise?

O dear Ian’s gone into full on whine mode, they didn’t help me *sniff sob*. Not more sums Simon! This is how food works people, you buy a loaf of bread and some peanut butter for £1.50, make 25 sandwiches (big loaf of bread) which you sell for £1.50 each. £1.50 for a peanut butter sandwich? Not fucking likely but I take your point.

Kevin is back labouring the point that he eat in a lot of Italian restaurants so he knows what’s popular and what to cook.

The bitch fight over who organised the ‘motivational talk’ at 5pm rages. The crux of this seems to be who was actually in charge. We all know that Kevin looks like Matt Lucas so maybe that’s why I am expecting ‘yeah, but no but yeah.’ Did Kevin get the team together for a motivational pep talk asks Sralan (who now sounds as exasperated as I feel)? Kevin says yes, Simon says yes, Ian was ‘at Kevin’s meeting’ but he says no. Well despite Ian's constant interruptions about the fact they took £800 (er yeah but you still lost) we are back to Vicky Pollard.

Oh, I give up and Sralan's also had enough. For a gut-clenching moment it seems like there may be a repeat of last week's firing fiasco, not Simon? Kevin? He speaks a great game but is it smoke and mirrors?

Simon needs to show he can do more than graft, he needs to lead too [And I hated him for this. I was with the guy right up until he pulled the 'make me PM' card. - Rad]. He also needs to stop interrupting Sralan, not once but twice, come on learn from your mistakes! Phew, he is safe, (Anyone care to place a bet on who’ll be Renaissance team leader next week?) Simon may just have come in his pants.

He may work to very high morals and be an honest individual but he is a gonner and there is a collective punching of the air as the undeniably pretty and spineless Ian gets the chop. He doesn’t beg or plead but maybe the realisation that he is a loser is starting to hit home. Outside the boardroom, he sort of hugs Kevin and then looks at his hands as if they are dirty.

Coat Watch- bit non descript and black mid length, nice collar. Ian is pretty isn’t he? [He looks similar to Rhys off Hollyoaks, who is also pretty, and also a bit of a bastard - Rad] I think his eyes are blue whether he’s in the boardroom or not.

Kevin and Simon return to the house. Simon pronounces Ian was 'a dead man walking' and Kevin let him talk and then ‘nailed him to the ground‘, did he watch a different show to me?

Next week they are photographing people in shopping centres. This concept leaves me slightly non plussed, [Me too, I'm sure we're overdue the go shopping for things off alist and get all confused task. I want to see the crap negotiators from Renaissance offer to pay more, not less, for things - Rad]I’m off to lie down.

[EDIT: Ian Stringer now has a website. He spells programme (as in TV programme) the American way. So much for being a media professional. Cock. - Rad]


Joe said...

Another great read! Are the apprentice drinking game rules written down anywhere or do you just follow the cliches? Could do with an extra excuse to get sloshed in front of the TV...

Fiona said...

Glad you enjoyed it :-) Off the top of my head you drink when you see London porn shots, Sralan says 'bloody shambles, disaster, you're a light weight' etc etc or a contestant promises to give 110%. There are others and I are say someone will be along to add them shortly.

I would also suggest a drink everytime we see a candidate in dodgy neck atire but I fear we'd be too pissed to watch 10 minutes in....

Anonymous said...

I think it was "Lee McQueen is concerned"

Fiona said...

And he is probably concerned that I got his name wrong....

CCB said...

People referring to themselves in the third person always reminds me of the old Danny Baker call about Richard Keys. How would Lee McQueen sing these popular songs?

Lee McQueen Am The Walrus

Lee McQueen Loves To Love But Lee McQueen's Baby Just Loves To Dance

They tried to make Lee Queen go to rehab, Lee McQueen said No, No, No

Very poor editing this week as it was clear that Ian, Simon and Kevin would end up in the boardroom as we hadn't actually seen anyone else, and the 30 minutes task, 30 minutes boardroom split means we really rush through the actual task. After the half-pizza debacle we never saw the boys pub again... ccb is not happy.