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When you hear of people making extreme quantities of omelettes in record time (think: contests), is there a special technique one needs to master in order to do this? Or is it simply a matter of being really good and efficient with the standard technique? If there is such a technique, what is it?

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I find that this exquisitely instructional video about how to make an omelet is a great way to start.

You may try at least 2 techniques to cook the omelet faster. They do have disadvantages in the result that you will get.

Starting from here, in order to cut down the cooking time, you will need to use a larger pan / fewer eggs so that you only get a a very thin layer of egg on it that cooks in just a few seconds. The disadvantage here is that generally the omelet that you get will be somewhat dryer and less fluffy.

Alternatively .. or additionally, you may use a lot more butter / oil in the pan. This will transfer heat faster to the egg and you will be able to cook the omelet in a smaller pan. This method allows you also to have the pan hotter and reduce the cooking time even more. The main disadvantage is that you will make it a lot more fatty than it is needed without adding flavor to the dish.

This are the main techniques that I see to make it faster. Personally, I prefer taking the extra 60 seconds that it takes to make it in the "standard" way described in the video as I tend to get a lot better results.

Essentially this is just a more detailed version of what Carmi suggested.

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I can't say much for how professionals would do this, but I have found just about the quickest omelette is the Julia Child (French) version of one.

By her method, you cook the eggs (mixed with just a bit of water) over fairly high heat in a bit of melted butter, shaking the pan the whole time. At the end, you jerk the pan to get the eggs to roll up on themselves.

See a video here. It takes her about 30 seconds.

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+1 This is pretty much the same method that they use on "Saturday Kitchen" (Made for the BBC); although most of the shefs that do the challenge on there seem to be around 20 seconds (they don't add the water though) –  Rowland Shaw Sep 10 '10 at 7:57
    
This is a scramble not an omelette. I always thought a scramble was just about the eggs, omelettes usually have stuff in them? –  Chris Sep 10 '10 at 11:21
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No.. scrambled eggs are looser. An omelette holds together in a (usually folded) disc. Filling is optional in an omelette. –  daniel Sep 11 '10 at 7:05
    
@Chris: I'm certainly no expert but I'm inclined to believe Julia Child. –  Dinah Sep 12 '10 at 1:08

I don't know about contests, but I have in the past cooked 100 18-20 inch omlettes in just over half an hour.

We used three pans working in parallel. Get the pans as hot as you can. Use oil, not butter, so you don't have to wait for it to melt each time. Pre-beat all the eggs together in advance. After that, it's just a tablespoon of oil and a ladle of eggs. Flip when solid enough to survive flipping.

I'm not sure if the fact that the entire kitchen (galley actually) was gently rocking form side to side on the waves was a help or a hindrance.

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I reackon the 200 omelettes in 30 minutes comment is rubbish. Or if it was possible then they would not be a very good shape size texture or quality. Regardless of weather they were classical french omelettes or simply the folded in half style. I had a business that made these for the food service industry for more than 10 years. My team individually could only produce 125 omelettes each per hour at best. These were classic french styled 2 egg omelettes cooked in parallel across 5 pans per chef.Oh of course no colour and a creamy texture inside. –  Terry Oct 21 at 6:14
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I'm going to assume that Carmi had quite a few pans going at once, and that quality/appearance likely did suffer; military food is more like caffeteria food than fine-dining ... that whole 'no color' thing is likely right out. (and I checked Carmi's bio to confirm ... Israeli Navy, so the hint that it was on a boat wasn't because it was an upscale cruise ship) –  Joe Oct 21 at 11:45
    
Like Joe said, we weren't striving for quality. It was just the most efficient way to get eggs into men. It also occurrs to me that we made 200 servings, which were half an omelette each, though these were 18-20" omelettes to start with. I'll amend my answer. –  Carmi Nov 17 at 12:00

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