Fruit seller Adam Corbally's dream of winning The Apprentice went pear-shaped after his team lost a luxury product task.
The market trader missed out on a place in the final after his high-end chocolates and jellies failed to sweeten Lord Sugar.
Adam, who runs a wholesale and retail fruit and vegetable firm, admitted he was disappointed but insisted he knew his onions when it came to business.
"I believe I can bow out gracefully. I did what I said I'd do at the start of the process, which was be the best salesperson the process has ever seen, and I've stuck to that," he said.
"I'm very grateful for the experience, and the opportunities it's now put on the table for me are life-changing."
This week's task involved devising a new luxury product and pitching it to industry experts and Lord Sugar.
Adam, from Glossop in the Peak District, took charge of Team Phoenix, who came up with a confectionery product range called Sweet Thing. But rival Team Sterling's Modern Gentleman male grooming products were deemed more professional and better thought out.
"Our pitch was very sloppy but I think that was down to the team," Adam, 33, said. "No one wanted to practise the pitch, we only had about 15 minutes to prepare for it and no notes. In a real situation you'd have a proper plan."
The father-of-two, who was praised for his enthusiasm throughout the series, added: "I would have liked the opportunity to prove myself in the interview stage, I can actually back up what I've said I've done... But it wasn't my day and that's fine."
He is now tipping recruitment manager Ricky Martin to win. "He's the best candidate in the process. He's clear and concise, he's on the money," Adam said.