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?
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.
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.
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.