For tonight's task The Apprentice 2013 candidates are given the challenge of creating and pitching a new brand of ready meals.
The seven remaining candidates are woken by a 6am phone call asking them to meet Lord Sugar at The Gherkin in London. Upon arrival, Lord Sugar explains all.
He tells the group: “Good morning. Welcome to Searcys restaurant, right at the top of this iconic building, The Gherkin. This restaurant is well known for providing top quality food for busy executives.
"These days there is a demand for top quality food at home. The ready meal market is worth over a billion pounds per year, and your task this week is to come up with your own ready meal.
"I have laid on three top retailers who you are going to present them to. The team that gets the most amount of orders for your ready meal will win, and in the losing team, one of you will be fired.”
Lord Sugar gives Alex his first chance as Project Manager for Endeavour, leaving Evolve to decide on a leader itself, with both Neil and Francesca putting themselves forward. With the deciding vote on their three-man team, Luisa selects Neil for the top job, citing his natural leadership skills as the reason for her choice.
Each team then splits in two, with one half heading to the kitchen to cook their sample ready meals and the other in charge of branding.
Over on Team Endeavour, first time Project Manager Alex decides that he will work on the branding alongside Myles, while Jordan and Leah head to the kitchen to prepare the team’s ready meal. With Endeavour quickly deciding on children as its target market, it falls to Alex and Myles to come up with a concept for their brand. Myles is confident that children will love a playful ‘Deadly Dinners’ theme, while Alex is keen to educate children in culinary geography by offering foods from around the world, dubbing his idea ‘Popty Ping’, Welsh for microwave.
Alex stews over the decision on which theme to move forward with for much of the day. He continuously returns to ‘Popty Ping,’ even though Myles tries to convince him that the idea is half baked. With Leah and Jordan already in the kitchen putting together food suited to the ‘world geography’ theme, Alex is eventually swayed by Myles’ advice and swaps the theme to ‘Deadly Dinners.’ Will this last minute change come back to haunt Endeavour in the boardroom?
Meanwhile Team Evolve opts for students as its target market and decides to centre its brand around the fusion of different cuisines, but the trio cannot decide how to split themselves for the task.
Although Luisa owns a food business, she is adamant that she should not be on the cooking team, insisting: “I can bake, but I sure as hell can’t cook.” It therefore falls to an equally reluctant Francesca, who professes to eating ready meals “almost every day of the week,” to cook the team’s produce in the kitchen.
Unhappy with this decision, she adds: “I have been royally stitched up by my team members.”
Karren Brady notes from the sidelines: “Luisa was very clear this morning; ‘I don’t have knowledge of savoury food, I don’t cook’. We’ve come to a kitchen and she’s all over the food, it’s clear she has knowledge. But Francesca’s in the kitchen. She’s going to have to cook, she’s going to have to taste. I hope she’s up to the job.”
The next morning, as the teams get the chance to taste their ready meals, it becomes clear that Evolve’s spicy noodles, named ‘Oh My Pow’ by Neil and Luisa, turn out to be tasteless, with no ‘Pow’ at all. Will the retailers be disappointed by a recipe that doesn’t match its brand identity?
With the ‘Deadly Dinners’ and ‘Oh My Pow’ meal samples back from the kitchen, both teams go out in search of consumer feedback.
Alex and Jordan head to a primary school to road test ‘Deadly Dinners’ for Team Endeavour. After tasting the meals, Jordan asks the group: “I want everyone to play a game with me. If you think you might want it, put one hand up, and if you’d really like it, put two hands up.” He is met with a school hall full of raised hands from the enthusiastic kids.
However, the parents put forward concerns about the inclusion of a skull on the ‘Deadly Dinners’ packaging, saying that overall they felt the brand did not make them confident they were buying something healthy for their children.
Nick Hewer observes: “The tasting session at the primary school went down a storm with the children. They loved it. They voted with all four limbs. The parents however, not so delighted with it. The parents, on the whole, said no.” Who will the major retailers side with - the strength of the children’s vote for the product or their health-conscious parents?
After pitching their ready meal to three different supermarket retailers, the teams must return to the boardroom to hear which team sold the most and which were thrown into the bargain bin, before one candidate hears those infamous words, “You’re Fired.”
The Apprentice 2013 airs tonight on BBC One from 9PM.
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