'I'd have sacked the lot of them'

Alastair Jessel: 'It was sad that the wrong team won'
Alastair Jessel: 'It was sad that the wrong team won'

The ice cream maker who hosted a visit by the winning team on last night’s television programme The Apprentice says the whole lot should have been fired.

Alastair Jessel, the entrepreneur who runs Farmhouse Ice Cream and Taywell Farm Shop in Goudhurst, claimed the wrong team won. "I would have sacked the lot of them," he said. "It was sad that the wrong team won."

He said the apprentices assigned to him - the others went to Downsview Ice Cream in Sussex - did not do a good job. A large late order gave them an unexpected victory.

The programme set both teams of apprentices the task making ice cream. They had to come up with unusual flavours they thought could sell to London clients.

Mr Jessel spent hours with the team but was shown only briefly on screen welcoming them to Bockingfold Farm where the ice cream is made.

He was invited to a preview of the programme and attended The Apprentice - You’re Fired live follow-up show hosted by Adrian Chiles on BBC2.

The apprentices came up with flavours like cider and elderflower and "Verry Berry." "We told them what flavours we supplied and they were not allowed to make any of them. The stuff they made was not particularly nice."

But Mr Jessel was surprised that none of the apprentices asked him about the marketing of specialist ice cream, which is where both teams struggled.

Mr Jessel’s strengths lie in marketing and promotion which have helped him sell his ice cream to Asda Local and boost sales at Taywell Farm Shop. "Selling a premium ice cream in a market that is swamped with big names is hard.

"They missed a lot of tricks but I was very pleased that a small business that hasn’t yet celebrated its second birthday got some good exposure."

Mr Jessel admitted that the task was hard because the apprentices did not have long to do something that was quite complex.

But he has reservations about the programme. "I feel this latest series is more aout finding dysfunctional, egotistical peole and put them into a team and see how much they fall out rather than become a proper entrepreneur."

Mr Jessel says he received a small fee for hosting the visit but it had cost him money to clean up and carry out minor repairs after the apprentices had left.

While he had broken even financially, the publicity was valuable. "This small artisan style making ice cream got a good exposure," he said.

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