Pavlova 'super nova' as complex as landing Mars rover, and for one it's 'all over'

Pavlova roulade is hardly a reinvention, according to judges Matt Preston and Marco Pierre White.
Pavlova roulade is hardly a reinvention, according to judges Matt Preston and Marco Pierre White.

On TV, as in life, surprise is in short supply; and this fact of agonizing predictability stops no one pretending that something interesting might happen.

“I knew immediately that this was the Reinvention Test,” said Sarah as the Reinvention Test happened on its regularly scheduled day of filming.

Sarah feigned shock for the third week in a row. And so did I. And so did you.

On TV as in life we all have to pretend we don't know what's coming next in order to survive unbearable boredom.

And we have to pretend we don't expect Matt to say a thing like, “It's time to turn something you already know into something we didn't think was possible”.

What can he possibly mean by such nonsense and does it cause him physical pain to talk like a motivational poster? We don't know and momentarily we don't care as Coop brandishes the knife marked with the destiny “pavlova”.

Pavlova, itself a “reinvention” of the common meringue, is to be reinvented.

Marco told the assembled Professionals: “This is the most important pavlova of your life.”

I don't think this statement conveyed the gravitas he'd intended. The idea of an “important pavlova” is about as convincing as an important bikini wax. Or a crucial morning tea.

But the effect of anticlimax has become an unintended function of a show that has long since begun to take itself way, way too seriously.

If MasterChef did not take itself too seriously, it would almost certainly ban the use of the word “deconstruction”.

For too long in too many kitchens, the language of art, science and academia has been used to describe food.

This makes about as much sense as using the language of carpentry to describe knitting.

It might make a chef feel important to talk about “deconstruction”; and Cameron was certainly eager to overuse the term coined by a French theorist.

But as myself a deeply pretentious person, I want to throw meringue at the television every time I hear it.

Bear with me people because I'm only going to say this ONCE.

Deconstruction is a literary critical process by which we destabilise traditional oppositions that exist in a text and it has nothing to do with meringue. Never. Ever.

And the next time one of you use it on the television, myself and every other pretentious twat who studied literary theory in the universities of the 1990s are going to gather in a single place and invoke the spirit of Derrida (the Father of Deconstruction).

When you utter this word incorrectly, Zombie Derrida will arise from his grave and scoop out your brains and turn them into a frozen dessert. A Dessert of the Real, if you will.

While graduates of literature programs silently regretted not studying something more useful, Matt set about rhyming the word “pavlova” with a selection of natty phrases.

These included “it's all over” and “super nova”. I thought there was a perfectly good opportunity to pop a space exploration reference in there and use the term “Mars Rover”. But it was not to be.

Meantime, Bonnie seemed to do a lot of crying. “I'm so ashamed!” she wailed as her meringue burned and she hid their charred corpses like evidence of a grizzly crime.

Marco counselled: “Don't let that one meringue upset you.” This, my friends, is advice for the ages.

Bonnie described meringue as her nemesis. On a relative scale, I don't actually think meringue is a bad nemesis to have though. Certainly better than Moriarty or Goebbels.

Coop and Cassie and Sarah began talking again in a language few of us understood and I am sure that one of them said “I am cooking with cruciate ligament in an effort to deconstruct the pavlova”.

No one could be sure.

Well, no one save for judges confident of being able to judge “reinvention”. And, of course, “deconstruction”.

Cassie was judged favourably for her lemon sherbet with strawberries marinated in balsamic and nuclear reactor fluid. Cameron and Sarah got the thumbs up from Derrida as well.

And then, we moved on to disgrace.

Perhaps it was the fact that Bonnie used a surfeit of tears in her “deconstructed” and “reinvented” pavlova that saved from elimination and indignity.

Oddly, Coop was also spared. This is despite the fact that he had (a) made a pavlova into a pizza and (b) kept repeating the inane phrase “a cup of tea icecream” over and over.

Perhaps it was Akuc 's failure to graduate with literary studies that ended in her elimination.

Frankly, the sweet that she produced looked eminently edible. But its absence of smoke and spherical balls of phlegm mean that she was consigned to the rubbish heap of MasterChef history.

But, she was hopeful. "Everyone can taste a bit of me,” she said.

I plan to make this my motto for life.

This story Pavlova 'super nova' as complex as landing Mars rover, and for one it's 'all over' first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.