Is it just me or does it seem a bit creepy when the Apprentice cameras film the girls in bed, in their jim-jams or less, make-up free, hair extensions lying shag pile thick on the bedroom carpet?
For a programme that pretends to be like real life business, it feels a little pre Me-Too. “Oh yes, you’re an excellent candidate but can we also sneak into your bedroom and see you undressed?”
These girls are no pushovers either. Harpreet Kaur as project manager was ferocious this week. Do exactly what I say or else.
‘Carrots, carrots, carrots’
She had a vision – they all seem to suffer from them – of a pescatarian baby food which sounded frankly disgusting – salmon and spinach curry.
Aggressively talking to herself as she piled in the ingredients, “carrots, carrots, carrots”, she was determined to give “baby their first taste of curry”. Surprisingly both the babies and the punters loved it! That was a turn up for the recipe books.
Brittany Carter and Kathryn Burn meanwhile, who were smugly confident in their branding expertise, spent too much time trying to dominate each other and not enough time on the task at hand.
Their “Little Taste Adventures” branding depicted a globe in a frying pan, which is frankly horrifying, but maybe it was Brittany’s eco-warrior sub-conscious inadvertently surfacing again. The labelling looked like a blue sticking plaster. It was an unpalatable mess.
Stephanie Affleck had to use all of her formidable self-preservation skills to avoid being fired this week.
‘First Time F..Dies’
We all thought the turd tidal wave logo we saw in the first episode was unbeatable in its awfulness. We thought wrong.
Stephanie and Akeem Bundu-Kamara designed their brand “First Time Foodies” with the “oo” being designed as small bowls. The corporate clients read it in the way we could all see it, “First Time F..Dies”.
As Harpreet realised belatedly, “it looks like we want to kill children”. Not a compelling USP for baby food.
Steph tried to double down: don’t mention it, maybe nobody will notice it. They did. “First Time F*** Dies is your logo?” enquired the corporate customer.
Both teams managed to lose
Neither team won any orders at all this week so no-one got the winners’ celebratory treat, which would have been most gutting for the poor company lined up to deliver it.
Harpreet was safe because in the debacle she at least developed a tasty product. But the boys really didn’t stand a chance against the girls in the boardroom, despite the fact that in real life most of us would probably be more comfortable working with or even buying something from Aaron Willis or Akeem.
Aaron had been manipulated by the girls into becoming baby food project manager and chef, solely on the basis that he had kids - the fact that they were teenagers made no difference. Brittany couldn’t do it, she said, because she knew nothing about cooking, only macronutrients.
So poor old Aaron was left to try and concoct a baby recipe which he clearly didn’t have a clue about. His Moroccan medley vegetarian dish with butternut squash, sweet potato, cous cous, rice and lentils was a sticky, carb-fest gloop that had both babies and adults wanting to throw it across the room immediately.
His only hope was that self-described branding gurus Kathryn and Brittany would save the day with an attractive design. They didn’t. It was a mess. Aaron was toast.
Did Akeem have more to offer?
Meanwhile, Akeem, a quieter presence, sometimes struggled to make an impact. He may have overblown the symbolism of his baby food poster – were they really reaching to the left as though yearning for the pan-Asian continent or were they just after the food bowl? - but his thoughtfulness was underappreciated.
He was right about the food labelling (although Steph ignored him), he was resilient despite Harpreet’s irritation with him and it’s a shame that he didn’t get to the interview stage because it feels like on his own terms and in a different context, Akeem has a lot to offer.
So the last four candidates are all female. They do deserve to be there, they are all very capable, self-possessed, professional women. But with the interviews beckoning next week, we’ll get to see whether the clever, self-promotion tactics that have got them this far are substantiated by their real world experience which is quite unlike Lord Sugar’s Apprentice kingdom.
Corinne Mills is a career coach with Personal Career Management and author of best-selling books on CVs and career change.
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