Oh, she’s about to pull a Claude.
You may have one glass of water while you read this recap.
Well, we might as well talk about the disappearing elephant in the room as Reece, without any explanation until 38 minutes into the episode, exited the process – with these being his last known words and whereabouts
it was very much just a “he can’t take part anymore. MOVING ON.”
now, word on the street is that during the flight to Dubai he got drunk which I am inclined to believe given the unceremoniousness of the exit but also am sceptical of because I can’t believe the show would miss an opportunity to exploit that for maximum effect – a montage of Reece hammering back complimentary champagne while Karren raises a perfectly plucked eyebrow over her well nursed complimentary martini. Whatever the case, it might honestly be one of the most iconic exits and he does hold the honour of being the first candidate fired by someone other than Lord Sugar.
Back to our regularly scheduled content, the ghost of Amadeus Wolfgang Mozart being the one to answer the phone this week
the candidates being challenged to pack a travel bag to be taken to Heathrow where it was revealed that they would be putting on corporate away days for high end clients.
Huda Hell Are You?
Having managed to exorcise the classical pianist from her mortal vessel, Victoria was up for the challenge of Project Manager having lived in Dubai for 6 years – stressing that people in Dubai are prepared to spend insane amounts of money and very much putting her on the list of The Eaten come the revolution
it turns out that Victoria may have overpaid for the superyacht considering their client only ended up paying 1,600 dirham per head for their maritime away day – but truly Victoria was powerless in the negotiation, you could practically hear the inner fangirl screaming as she sat across the table from Mona Kattan – the sister of Huda Beauty owner Huda Kattan
I mean, Victoria does kind of have the cold-dead eyes of a shark (a positive trait on the show) so she could have been thinking anything but she has Huda Face – I know her ilk.
Victoria had initially wanted 3,500 dirhams per head but apparently the cost of not screaming “I LOVE THE MERCURY RETROGRADE PALETTE!” in Mona’s face was a cool 19,000 dirhams – not that Mark and Megan were aware that any of this had happened as they gamely ordered every luxury piece of food they could without batting an eye
it’s hard to work out which part Mark regretted more – the £1000 of food he just ordered or the entire platter of oysters he practically inhaled.
Mark and Megan also had to organise the Team Building Exercise and because apparently an obstacle course and pub quiz isn’t enough for the Emirati elite, they were going with a DJ masterclass which produced such solid material as… this
this DJ and his turntables absolutely rinsed these guys – they booked him for 4 hours, thus spending about 6000 dirhams for him to show Mark a rhyming dictionary, put on an auto play 4 count and bugger off – an activity that by all accounts lasted 10 minutes
I might audition for the next series with a business plan that’s just “become a DJ in Dubai” and a picture of the Burj Khalifa on 1 piece of A4.
As for the rest of Victoria’s Away Day – it started out really well with everyone getting to spend some time jetting around the marina in some jet skis
this high octane fun being momentarily paused for Marnie to run the least successful quiz you could possibly imagine (and I say that after Akeem’s Mining Death Lecture last year)
her mistake being forgetting that she was talking to a bunch of Dubai locals who are exactly the sort of Instagram personalities that a £5000 gold cocktail is exclusively marketed to
and because Mona had turned up to go jet skiing in a full glam beat, she had a very short window of tolerance for the jet skiing
the way she absolutely gagged them when she told them she didn’t want to do this anymore – truly incredible scenes, if Drag Race wasn’t so securely in the pocket of Anastasia Beverly Hills, I’d suggest Mona as a guest judge IMMEDIATELY.
Of course before their 10 minutes with DJ Brooklyn and MC Marky Malarkey, they had to savour the experience of Mark and Megan’s luxury menu – of which the two of them had completely neglected to take into account that they would be having to prepare all of it in a moving boat as the two of them lurched about like they were in the middle of a challenge on The Generation Game, with Megan almost ruining the canapés with every wave
and sometime between shoving a delicately piped splodge of mashed potato into the microwave (~luxury~)
and Karren having to barge into the kitchen to warn the candidates that the diners were about 3 minutes away from mutinying and embracing cannibalism and she did not pay 2900 dirhams for a blowout to be someone’s appetizer
Megan had to go and lie down in the brig with Reece, putting Mark in sole control of the kitchen, a role he was by all means not at all born for
THEY CAN’T EAT VIBES, MARK! Just microwave the luxury mashed potato and be done with it!
But, at least they seemed to have cocktails to placate everyone with
the Blue Lagoon apparently being The Apprentice’s Official Cocktail for some reason
they’re in the pocket of Big Curaçao.
Sadly none of this team have ever lived in Dubai so there is a bit of a debate over who to elect as Project Manager and by “debate” I do mean Rochelle putting her case forward and Avi just saying “Pick me! Pick me!” like Donkey in Shrek
shockingly it’s a completely ineffective tactic and Rochelle, despite a lack of corporate experience, was made project manager. Her approach was to go with something that celebrates the culture of the UAE and thus making a similar mistake to Marnie’s Open Water Quiz Night. So while Victoria shoved her day full of jet skis, cocktails and 10 minutes of electro-dance music – Rochelle’s was a much more sedate affair – opting for a camel tour and the ambiance of the desert
all for a cool 2100 dirhams per head which is a lot of pressure to put on a caravan of camels and some guy making coffee in the middle of the desert – their Team Building Activity being a traditional coffee masterclass, which if that sounds a little bit too boring, don’t worry! For only 1000 dirhams extra they could include breadmaking too! (This £22 per portion of bread would come in very handy later.)
As mentioned, their day started with The Camel Tour and Rochelle armed to the teeth with mildly interesting facts and slightly mundane observations
the clients did seem quite happy with camel ride but they might have also just been feeding off the overflow of enthusiasm from Avi
his enjoyment of the camels was certainly unique
Avi isn’t allowed within 20 feet of a camel anymore.
The real problems started when they got to the camp for their meal, which had been arranged by Joseph, Bradley and Dani. The high end option was the Lamb Ouzi – a lamb dish unique to the area and is basically cooked by burying the meat in the desert sand – which they all thoroughly enjoyed
but they vetoed it because it was 500 dirham per head (which sounds like more than it was) so they deferred to the mid-range option, meaning while Team Huda Beauty dined out on oysters, caviar and the most luxurious microwavable mashed potato in the Arab World, Team Stranded In the Desert were surviving on Sambouseks and vegetable skewers that looked like they were off a gastro pub’s 3 option vegetarian menu in 2006
what was the budget option? Whatever the camels didn’t eat? DairyLea Lunchables? Reece’s unused complimentary hotel breakfast? But in the name of bang for their buck, Bradley was going to get every penny out of these vegetable skewers by pushing cherry tomatoes to their limits
I mean, it’s not exactly Jesus Christ feeding the masses with only 7 loaves bread and a few small fish and my God was it a slap in the face to this poor vegetarian man who couldn’t eat the sambousek because they were fried in lamb fat
if you wait 20 minutes though, you can have 1 grilled cherry tomato and a piece of courgette that’s falling to pieces, but you’re going to have to share with everyone else because apparently serving people 4 fried dumplings doesn’t go very far
did you try cutting them in half to make them last longer?
By this point Rochelle was only talking in hushed whispers, imaginably both because of the embarrassment of the situation and fear because the way this woman was solemnly eating her flatbread suggested she would be consumed by bloodlust at even the slightest provocation
but given that, Rochelle, in a voice fitting of someone giving you a chemical peel in a spa, had a unique approach to sating the ever increasing hunger
not sure encouraging your clients into a sort of literal Hunger Games battle for food is the right way to go.
The worst part of it all though was that they couldn’t even try to fill them up with water because in another truly ingenious method of keeping the costs down the catering team had decided to keep it to a three (3) drink limit – two (2) glasses of water and ONE (1) glass of juice per person
it was at this point that Simba began to realise that instead of supplying everyone with a luxurious team building retreat, they had instead accidentally created a prison camp in the middle of the desert. So after having this woman glare at them every time she took the daintiest sip of water
they conceded to four (4) glasses of water per person, so while Bradley and Dani went and wrung the camels out and bled every stone in the United Arab Emirates, the others had to deal with The Very Hungry Vegetarian who had just sent his piked rabbit food back for being uncooked (it was nice of him to not mention the visible dearth of seasoning – How much could dried coriander possible cost? £15?)
no, we can’t ignore that the mushrooms had by this point completely shrivelled up and I think we all just need to accept that mushrooms don’t belong on a skewer, and probably nor do new potatoes.
So with everyone possibly having been fed and fending off dehydration with whatever water Bradley deigned to give them and some Ibuprofen, all that was left to do was to be slightly bored by the very sedate coffee making experience
but don’t worry! There’s some mand-handled bread to fill the void that claws at the side of your stomach
by this point everyone was longing for the halcyon days of being told the ways in which camels were similar to horses
a simpler time.
The Boardroom Blitz
There have been some AWFUL hospitality challenges in the past – last year alone we had Getting Lost In An Open Plan Museum, The Mining Death Lollapalooza and Speed Running A Watercolour Masterclass In The Rain none of which ended up having to give refunds to their clients – but this time they weren’t dealing with people they’d snatched up on Llandudno Pier with promises of all you can eat cheese, this time they had D-list internet celebrities who could get on the red carpet of The Daytime Emmys if they pulled the right strings and if anyone knows how to throw their weight around, it’s on Instagram mogul.
It wasn’t that surprising that both teams ended up having to give refunds, Victoria’s team having to hand back 20% of their earnings and ending up with a profit of 2521 dirhams – which shocked Joseph no end
strap in my guy, because for having fed that poor vegetarian man nothing but bread and raw tomatoes for an evening, Rochelle’s team had to hand back 60% of their earnings, leaving them with only 2030 dirhams profit which has got to hurt, and not just because Joseph had sprained an eyeball
and while Joseph nursed his rapidly approaching migraine, Megan was more alive than she’d ever been since she vommed microwavable mashed potato off the side of a luxury yacht
their ~reward~ being to climb up the O2 Arena for spectacular views of London and some champagne or a champagne flute full of Coke
Yes, I am choosing to believe that Sohail Showgirls’d Reece by plying him with the champagne he was meant to be drinking on the flight.
So while Sohail wondered if he could get away with slipping a few marbles under Mark during their descent of the O2 Arena and blaming it on the wind, Rochelle was bringing Simba and Joseph back into the boardroom which struck me as a strange decision – I get that Simba flagrantly announced to the guests that they were on water rations but he wouldn’t have had to do that if they had bothered to overstock water WHICH WASN’T EVEN THAT EXPENSIVE
just buy 50 servings, that’s only 150 dirhams!
So in my eyes, it should have been Dani and Bradley in the boardroom for their completely ineffective and utterly kneecapping take on budgeting. I really don’t think Joseph actually did that much wrong other than lightly suggest they tell everyone about the water limit, but his reasoning of transparency was solid enough – or at least I thought because in the end Sugar did decide to fire Joseph
I’ll miss you most of all, Double No Seven.
And so, somehow 10 candidates still remain (will this series ever end?)
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