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Lord Sugar Claims Gordon Ramsay BBC Show Is A “Virtual Rip-Off” Of ‘The Apprentice’

Lord Sugar has laid into Gordon Ramsay, accusing the celebrity chef’s Future Food Stars show of ripping off his business competition series The Apprentice.

Sugar, who has sat at the top the boardroom table on BBC One’s The Apprentice since 2005, told the DailyMail Online that restauranteur and broadcaster Ramsay should “stick to the day job” in an attack on Gordon Ramsay’s Future Food Stars, whose second season launches on the same channel later this year.

“Channel 4, Channel 5 and ITV have tried for many years — at least for 17 years — to try and replicate the elimination process of The Apprentice,” he said. “I say this with great respect to them but they’ve failed. Last year, Gordon Ramsay had some cockamamie idea.

“I like Gordon and I think he’s very good and should stick to what he should do: cooking and all that stuff. I don’t know how the lawyers allowed it because it was a virtual rip-off of The Apprentice. No disrespect to Gordon but stick to your day job, mate. That’s all I would say.”

Ramsay’s cooking formats empire includes Hell’s KitchenRamsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Fox’s MasterChef and Next Level Chef, which launched in the U.S. last year. He also fronts high-rating travelogs for ITV.

In the UK, he debuted Future Food Stars on BBC One last year. The premise sees 12 candidates compete in a series of taks for investment in their culinary business ideas, similar to how hopefuls on The Apprentice fight to have Sugar invest in their business plans. When Deadline first reported on Ramsay’s show in 2020, we noted Future Food Stars “has echoes of The Apprentice,” though it’s fair to say many reality competition shows have offered business investment as the winner’s prize over the years.

Last year, Ramsay acknowledged similarities, while praising Sugar’s show. “It’s a food and drink lifestyle business show,” he told reporters at a Radio Times event. “So fingers crossed, it’s going to rub Alan Sugar’s feathers the wrong way. I think I’ve lost a customer there. Who gives a f***? But all jokes apart, I’m a big fan of The Apprentice.”

The latest BBC season of The Apprentice, which Mark Burnett created in the U.S. for NBC with future President Donald Trump as the investor, kicks off in the UK tonight. A British version of Ramsay’s Next Level Chef, which he produces through Fox-backed producer Studio Ramsay Global, is launching on ITV on January 11. The original Next Level Chef runs on Fox.

Ramsay’s reps declined to comment on Sugar’s remarks.

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