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Camden News - By SIMON WROE
Published: 10 April 2008
Pictured (from left): Gordon Baileys, Dennis and Amanda McNulty and Philip Bamford 'fire' landlord Richard Wooderson
Pictured (from left): Gordon Baileys, Dennis and Amanda McNulty and Philip Bamford ‘fire’ landlord Richard Wooderson
Sugar fails to add spice as locals get all fired up

Apprentice contestants try to make their mark in Hampstead – but have they blown it?

SIR Alan Sugar and the regulars of the Duke of Hamilton don’t immediately have much in common, but mention “spaghetti bolognese” and the same grimace of disgust will furrow the brow of man and millionaire.
Despite the quiet Hampstead pub proudly refusing to provide more than the usual cheese and tomato rolls behind the bar for decades, its drinkers have cause to remember the finer points of Italian cuisine – they were the gastronomic guinea pigs in the latest money-making scheme on BBC show The Apprentice.
In the episode aired last night (Wednesday), six motor-mouth businessmen attempted to take the 200-year-old inn – described by licensee Richard Wooderson as “one of the last refuges of the Hampstead locals” – up market, supplementing the usual diet of lager and bitter with expensive pizza and pasta dishes.
But in a pub where the most basic of sandwiches is the most expensive thing on the menu, another Hampstead gastropub was the last thing punters wanted.
Dennis McNulty, a regular at the pub for 20 years, had reservations.
He said: “At the time I just thought it was this new Italian thing.
“I saw the cameras and thought it would be pretty good, but it was bloody awful. The soup was like dishwater and the spaghetti bolognese I wouldn’t serve to a pig.
Unlike Mr McNulty, who refused to pay, fellow regular David Sweetnam received a free pizza from the swaggering entrepreneurs – because it was stone cold.
He added: “I thought it was a wind-up. I walked in and there’s all these cameras in my conk and people signing off non-disclosure this’n’that.”
Mr Wooderson, 33, said: “They were a good bunch but you could see some of them had never worked in the hospitality industry before.”
“I would employ them – but just so I could use those immortal words: ‘You’re Fired!’”
In a further hiccup, material ordered to make an enormous Italian flag for the front of the pub was the wrong colour – making an Irish flag instead.
Mr Wooderson said: “The whole point of the show is to impress and sometimes you can impress too hard. They even tried to have a maitre d’.”
The contestants were given the task by multi-millionaire entrepreneur Sir Alan Sugar, who will give one of them a highly-paid job at the end of the series.
Hopefully Sir Alan was more impressed than regular Philip Bamford, who said: “It’s always been a traditional pub. If you want food go to a restaurant. I prefer just to drink here. I was brought up to respect the pub for the pub.”

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