We Made James Corden’s Egg Yolk Omelet And We’ve Got Some Notes

One of the most enduring truths of the current cultural era is that celebrities eat weird. Not as weird as politicians, maybe, but celebrities’ general combination of wealth, the tendency to have other people cooking for them at all times, and fad dieting in order to maintain camera-ready bodies makes their eating habits strange enough to be at least mildly fascinating to us normies. You can reliably count on virtually every famous person you already dislike to be the kind of annoying, persnickety diners service staff love to hate.

That describes the basic appeal of this week’s story making the rounds, in which the owner of Balthazar restaurant in New York City, Keith McNally, wrote on Instagram how he’d banned “nasty little cretin” James Corden from his restaurants. Corden’s alleged sins, according to the post, included “finding” a hair in his food and using it to blackmail the restaurant into offering free drinks, and the following (emphasis mine):


‘James Corden was at Balthazar with his wife on October 9th for brunch. He asked for a table outside. Brunch Maitre D’ Allie Wolters took the party to table 301. Mr. Corden’s wife ordered an egg yolk omelette with gruyere cheese and salad. A few minutes after they received the food, James called their server, M. K. and told her there was a little bit of egg white mixed with the egg yolk. M. K. informed the floor manager, G. The kitchen remade the dish but unfortunately sent it with home fries instead of salad. That’s when James Corden began yelling like crazy to the server: “You can’t do your job! You can’t do your job! Maybe I should go into the kitchen and cook the omelette myself!” M.K. was very apologetic and brought G. over to the table. He returned the dish, and after that, everything was fine. He gave them promo Champagne glasses to smooth things out. G. said that Corden was pleasant to him but nasty to the server.’ M.K. was very shaken, but professional that she is, continued to finish her shift.’

McNally is a guy who has in the past made headlines for defending Ghislaine Maxwell, among other things, not to mention opened the post in question with the wildly dubious preface “James Corden is a hugely gifted comedian” — which would normally discredit everything he said after that. And yet the idea that James Corden is a dick at restaurants is so irresistible, and so perfectly aligned with most people’s gut-level assumptions about James Corden, that no one really much quibbled about the details.

The story sounded a little shaky, and Corden has yet to comment on it, but McNally claimed in a follow-up post that Corden called and “apologized profusely.” Maybe this guy is just making it all up! Who knows! Who cares?

In a week that also gave us the rumor that Olivia Wilde has a “special salad dressing,” this #content was just too delicious not to hork up our eager piggy snouts.

The detail that had people spinning, of course, was that James Corden’s wife (TV producer Julia Carey) orders “an egg yolk omelet with gruyere cheese and a salad.” Which was facinating enough on its own to make me want to find out: Are egg yolk omelets a thing? What do they taste like?

I’m not going to dig into exactly which diet fad leads a person to order an egg yolk omelet (or be so rigid about it as to complain that it contains traces of egg white), but I assume it has something to do with the phenomenon whereby one learns that some past dieting guidance was wrongheaded and immediately runs a thousand miles the opposite direction. I remember working at Starbucks in the early aughts and hearing a customer, just after ordering a breve latte (with half-and-half instead of whole milk), tell her friend that “breve is good for my Atkin’s diet.”

I’ll admit I’m not a registered dietician here, but I’m pretty sure “fat isn’t nearly as bad for you as previously thought” doesn’t necessarily translate to “eat as much fat as you possibly can RIGHT THIS SECOND!”

I assume that’s kind of what’s going on here. And I’m sure someone in the comments is going to tell me why all-yolk omelets Are Actually Really Healthy For You Because Of Ketosis Or Something!!!! to which I say that I absolutely do not care. Whatever! Enjoy your quack diets, weirdos!

Acknowledging my bias against this entire concept, here is my attempt at an egg-yolk omelet, side by side with the regular, whole egg version.

Egg Yolk omelette 1
Vince Mancini

Yes, three bowls. I wanted to do the separating by hand (as opposed to using the shells) to be as sure as I could not to get ANY WHITES in those yolks.

Egg Yolk 2
Vince Mancini

I figured four yolks were roughly the same as two eggs. Added a little salt in there (yes, before the cook. this is the correct way).

Egg Yolk 3
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Beat them all up. Already the yolk-only omelet is kind of pasty and weird. It feels like you need some liquid in there to even it out.

Omelettes cheese
Vince Mancini

And some cheese. Gruyere for the egg yolk omelet, my usual supermarket Mexican blend for my usual two-egg omelet. I don’t know if this is where Balthazar’s adds their cheese, before cooking as I do, or after like I’ve seen other people do sometimes, but I’m doing it my way.

I should admit here that I think the standard French omelet and Gordon Ramsay’s scrambled eggs and the egg tornado and all those kinds of “you’ve been cooking your eggs wrong all this time” posts that always go viral are utter horseshit. I’ve tried all those and I still like my way better. I don’t swirl or put a steel fork into my nice non-stick pans or use a double boiler or any of that bullshit. I don’t really want “custardy” eggs anyway. “Use a lot of butter and a little cheese and don’t overcook them” is my guiding egg principle and it works great.

Butter pan
Vince Mancini

Knob of butter. As per Bill Buford’s most recent book, the butter “should be singing.” That is, bubbling audibly. And the eggs go in right before the butter changes color.


Whole egg
Vince Mancini

Like I said, forget all that forking twirling swirling nonsense. I just take my rubber spatula and, as the parts of the liquid egg closest to the pan start to cook and solidify, I pull that part away from the pan and let the liquid, uncooked egg take its place. Pretty simple, right?

Then, once there isn’t enough liquid to replace it, I flip the eggy mass (a little dangerous, but that’s how I like to live).

Whole egg
Vince Mancini

This is it just before flipping.

Vince Mancini

I don’t put the pan back on the heat after the flip and I start to fold/roll it as soon as that less-cooked side hits the pan to keep it from overcooking.


Yolk omelette
Vince Mancini

From the start, this whole yolk business feels a little wrong. It’s more of a paste. And you can’t really get any air bubbles in there by beating it.

Yolk omelette
Vince Mancini

This version cooks much faster and I suddenly feel like I’m racing against the clock. I removed it from the heat earlier and tried to flip even faster than I did with the whole egg version.

Yolk Omelette
Vince Mancini

The one upside here is that because yolks are so much less watery, they’re even easier to flip.

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I added some chives because I’m fancy.

Immediately you can see that the all-yolk version is flatter and denser. And yet, it looks a lot more normal than I imagined it would when I was beating it (heh).


The egg yolk version is much denser, though it tastes heavily of the gruyere, which is kind of nice. I think it would be eggier than the regular version, but I probably went a little heavy on the Gruyere. Either way, I very much miss the fluffiness of the whole egg, and I honestly prefer that flavor as well. Maybe I could’ve made the all-yolk version less dense by not letting it ooze across the pan while I was cooking, but I’m not so sure. The lack of air bubbles in there also hurts it.

All in all, it’s… fine. I’m sure I could’ve made it slightly better with some more repetition, but I’m not sure why I would. Eggs seem to me like one of those foods God already created in perfectly complementary proportions. Just enough white; just enough yolk. Plus the all-yolk omelet seems like a waste of egg yolks and of eggs in general (since I had to use twice the amount to get not even the same-sized omelet). And for what? To get a slightly higher fat-to-protein ratio? I’m sure that’s useful to someone for some reason but… I don’t care enough to find out.

There, aren’t you glad that we all went on this journey together? God help me if a rumor surfaces about Andrea Riseborough’s love of cat turd hoagies.

Vince Mancini is on Twitter. You can read more of his reviews here.