It's a tradition for The Apprentice’s buying task to be the challenge that sees candidates quickly crumble as they try to cross items off Lord Sugar’s cryptic shopping list. But this year it’s different. For the 2018 competition, the task has been made much, much harder.


In previous years candidates were set the challenge a few weeks into the hiring process, but this time Lord Sugar has handed it out in week one, sending the 16 new contestants to Malta.

This means the candidates – completely unsure of each other’s strengths and weaknesses – will have to form a workable team, find their way around a foreign country under a strict time limit, and negotiate a good price.

But the biggest challenge facing contestants? Working out just what they need to buy. Because although some items are self-explanatory, others are downright perplexing.

And however terrible that is for the candidates, it's great for us viewers: we can now watch them flounder in full ignorance while knowing what all the items are with help from the list below…

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Octopus with 40-inch hose

No, this isn’t referring to the eight-legged sea creature, but a vital piece of diving gear. Specifically, it's a secondary demand valve – a backup mouthpiece a diver can hand to a friend in need ­which allows them to share their air supply without removing their own mouthpiece.

Overall, it’s essential life-saving equipment – not a piece of kit we’d recommend substituting for a real octopus.


Two Maltese women in ghonnellas

Pronounced “awe-nel-la”, the ghonnella is somewhere between a shawl, cape, bonnet and headdress that originates from Malta and island Gozo. The clothing cropped up in the sixteenth century, usually in black or in dark colours. However, wealthy families of the Mediterranean also covered themselves with brightly-coloured versions of the garment.

The ghonnella fell out of favour after the Second World War and is most commonly found in antique shops today. Hint hint, candidates.

Primus Gellewza wine

Gellewza is the most famous red wine grape in the Malta region. Although available in red, Gellewza is commonly found in rosé bottles.


This item’s simple: a hasira is a blind made of bamboo.

Maltese house with a multi-coloured door

Don’t worry the candidates aren’t actually being asked to purchase a property on the island ­– not even Lord Sugar would be that mean. Instead, he’s asking for a small model of a Maltese house known for their colourful doors.

Nassa tal-vopi fisherman’s trap

Despite what some candidates might suggest, nassas tal-vopi isn’t a species of sealife. This net is known as a ‘bogue pot’ used for catching fish commonly known as boops boops (yes, really).

Filigree boat

This item could make for a classic Apprentice mess-up: a filigree boat isn’t actually a real boat, only a model. Filigree refers to a kind of metalwork commonly used in jewellery making.

Honeycomb – 500g

Although it might seem a random object to ask candidates to buy, Malta is well-renowned for honey. In fact, the Greeks initially called the island "Melite", which comes from their word for honey, “Meli”. The island even hosts ruins of ancient apiaries (manmade houses for honey bees)

Salt – 10kg, originating from the Xwejni Saltpans

The saltpans of Gozo

The biggest attraction on Gozo, the island’s saltpans are shallow pits that collect the Maltese delicacy – water pools in the small wells and evaporates away, leaving just the salt.


And just to make things easier, Lord Sugar is asking candidates for salt specifically sourced from Xwejni Bay at the northern point of Gozo, an island separate to Malta.

The Apprentice 2018: meet the candidates