Pies, Pilates or Personality? Which would you chose?

Fiona Scott
4 min readApr 18, 2024

This was it. The final episode of series 18 of The Apprentice in the UK when pie maker Phil Turner went up against Rachel Woolford the gym maker from the north of England. Who would win a £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar to grow their business?

My prediction was that Phil was way ahead of Rachel because of his business — and just because he was so poor throughout most of the process, losing nine times. It takes a certain stubbornness and resilience to keep failing and getting back up with little loss of enthusiasm.

I felt as the series went on that there must be something hidden which became obvious very late on in the series — the story behind the pies. Also his family ethos which is not just within the business but in his own life. My heart warmed to him once his story began to emerge.

His pie business has been very profitable with a dip since Covid but huge potential with some tweaks and learning to get back into profit. With a good product, with five shops and a small sideline of ‘pies by post’, it felt to me like the potential to go national was there. Ten per cent of sales come from online sales and even with a five per cent uplift in postal pies that would be amazing. Couple with opening more and more shops, and perhaps a wholesale arm, using distribution partners — it wasn’t pie in the sky.

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Fiona Scott

Fiona has been a UK journalist for more than 30 years as well as being a freelance tv producer director. She’s also had her own media consultancy since 2008.