Young Apprentice: Cookery book task

(Series 3, Ep.2) I’m going to find it hard to be too critical of the participants in Young Apprentice, because I’m mindful that they’re only a tiny tad older than PLA Jr and, without wanting to sound patronising (and probably failing), a lot of their mistakes are down to them just being young. Nevertheless, they’ve put themselves forward for what we must call “the process,” and they’re not short of self belief, so I doubt they’d be devastated by anything I’ve got to say anyway.

This week, Baron Alan wanted the teams to produce cookery books, and the usual statistics were trotted out about it being a multi-billion pound industry blah blah. The Baron took his big wooden spoon out to mix up the teams, sending Maria, a girl, into the boys’ team, and replacing her with Steven, a boy.

Maria had clearly been on the receiving end of a motivational speech or two about women having to work hard to make their voices heard in the workplace, and she decided from the outset that the way to do this was to shout louder than all the boys working together. If any of them dared to make a squeaking sound of objection, she smartly told them that, as a woman, She Must Be Heard. Despite this, the poisoned chalice of being the Project Manager fell to Sean, with his “dragged through a fashionable hedge – forwards” hairstyle (as Chris Ramsey described his own hair in the marvellous Hebburn).  

As a professional woman herself, Maria decided the way forward was a high concept cookery book called – and this was inspired – ‘Professional Woman.’ Shrugging aside feedback from the boys that this would rule anyone who wasn’t (a) a woman and (b) professional out of the market, she forged ahead, making sure Her Voice Was Heard. And oh, how it was heard.

To be fair to Maria, while she doesn’t excel at being a team player, she does do an excellent pitch. Calm, confident and composed, she had the industry bigwigs in the palm of her hand, while team-mate Andrew demonstrated the cooking part. It was all going very well, then Fashionable Patrick, who made such a mess of last week’s clothing task, decided he would like to do one of the pitches himself. Project Manager Sean, whose leadership style is to agree with the last person who spoke, decided this was a good plan. It wasn’t. As soon as 16 year old Patrick uttered the words, “Who is the professional woman?” at the two professional women sitting in front of him, you kind of knew they wouldn’t be placing any orders.

Fashionable Patrick should really have been brought into the board room, but Sean brought Maria and, inexplicably, David back. The Baron was never going to sack Maria so early in the proceedings, because she’s a Professional Woman, so Sean and his lovely hair had to go.

Maria was lucky to have been removed from the girls’ team, because they spent most of the time bickering and sulking and getting all “I can’t believe she just said that!” about each other. At one point the token boy, Steven, did the only thing possible under the circumstances and cut off a phone call mid-bicker, leaving both factions open-mouthed but at least buying a few seconds of quiet for himself.

Their concept was a cartoon cookery book for students. It had the awful title of  ‘#Where’s Mummy?’ which I can’t imagine many students would really want on their shelves, but the hash tag showed they were thinking in a social media way and their pitch included how the book could tie in with th’internet. Sadly, their book included many spelling mistakes, which they cheerfully owned up to. “Courgette? That was one of mine!” Steven wasn’t impressed. “How can they not spell ‘potatoes’?” he moaned. Indeed.

As a footnote, am I the only person who, when Baron Alan’s hand pushes up against the frosted glass door in the boardroom, is reminded of the 456 in Torchwood: Children of Earth?

Posted by PLA          (all our Apprentice reviews here)

1 Comment

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One response to “Young Apprentice: Cookery book task

  1. Tim

    Loved the way Maria defended her idea by saying it was the only one the team had. More like it was the only one the team heard once she had shouted everyone down. Her pitching was excellent, though – as was Navdeep’s on Platinum.

    The Three A’s (Alice, Amy & Ashleigh) put the lie to my belief that the juniors are less cynical than their adult counterparts. They seemed to spend the entire task undermining a not-great PM in Lucy and absolving themselves of any blame whatsoever, with Alice the ringleader. If only they had put a fraction of that effort into proof-reading – I mean, they only actually had to proof-read what, two or three recipes. I know they were strapped for time, but it really doesn’t take that long to proof-read 5 or 6 pages, does it?

    The other thing I noticed more this week than others was the power of editing and narrative in steering us in whatever direction the producers want us to go with. Voiceover Man causally mentioned that Platinum decided to do no market research and moved on. Had they lost, I wonder how that might have played out in the boardroom? Instead, conveniently forgotten or edited out.

    Heigh ho, on we go. Patrick is a dead man walking, surely?

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