THE REPERTOIRE: Breakfast In Bed

We’re excited to bring you the first installment in our four-part series on style and food. A few weeks ago, we introduced you to Blake Royer, who runs a site called The Paupered Chef. Over drinks at our regular spot off Fullerton Avenue, we philosophized that a man should master a few recipes—ready to call upon in any situation.
Starting today, Blake will produce a tiny cookbook of sorts for us. One recipe for each meal of the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. They’ll be constrained by situation (e.g. lunch while working from home), budget (e.g. $5, or maybe what you’ve got in the fridge) and time (e.g. you’ve got 10 minutes to throw an elegant breakfast together before heading to work.)

Our inaugural post would have been impossible without the help of Hannah Lea, another new Chicagoan whose elegance and poise is already catching eyes all over town. She’s got a site of her own that you should run—not walk—to check out. Hannah indulged us by agreeing to be part of the story, and it would have been a failure without her.

First up: Breakfast.


Last night was nuts. Between the dancing, the toasting and the unexpected requests to sing your famous rendition of that hit from the ’60s, you’re pretty sure your suit needs to be dry-cleaned. If you remember correctly, someone ended up in a fountain. But the time is now. You’re wide awake, and after a quick glance at the beautiful woman beside you, you realize. You had planned to spend a leisurely day together. But that meeting—the one with the big client—is this morning.
This, of course, makes you seem like an asshole. This is the classic dash. But in this case, it’s no excuse; it’s the way it is. Missing this one isn’t an option. How do you explain yourself? With breakfast in bed. You slip out from beneath the covers and heat the pan.
Introducing your new go-to: the French omelette.
The French have this concept of “to taste.” Just enough to get the flavor of the thing. It’s the opposite of the American way. It’s to savor, not to be full. And if she doesn’t like breakfast—if she doesn’t like eggs—she shouldn’t be in your home in the first place.
A few words from Blake about the art of the omelette:

The French omelette, unlike our American counterpart, isn’t about the filling. In its pure state, there’s nothing but eggs, salt and pepper. Done right, it’s tender, elegant, understated, charming…everything you wish you were as a conversationalist. Making one requires technique. A bunch of gooey cheese and ham won’t be there to help matters, so you just have to cook it well. No pressure.

It may sound counterintuitive, but cook yours first. Not only will it ensure hers is hot when you serve them, it will season the pan. Like pancakes, the second one is always better.

The technique I’ve settled on is to add a teaspoon of water for each egg, which hits the hot pan and immediately evaporates to lift the eggs and make the omelette fluffy. This is an exercise in timing. But judging from what it took to get you here, you’re already a master of that. Unlike scrambled eggs—which are all about patience and coaxing—the omelette is a 30-second, high-heat affair. You can’t hesitate. Pour in the eggs, never stop shaking the pan and have the coffee already made.

The French Omelette

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 grinds of fresh pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (optional)
Time: 2–3 minutes (prep), less than 60 seconds to cook.
Budget: $1–2. These are ingredients you should have on hand always.

(Serves one. Repeat, but don’t double, for two. Omelettes are cooked one at a time.)

1. In a mixing bowl or measuring jar, combine the eggs, salt, pepper, and water. Whisk vigorously to combine.

2. Heat a small skillet between 8 and 10 inches wide, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat until drops of water dance on the surface. Add the butter, which will sputter and foam. When the foam subsides, and the butter just begins to color and smell nutty, add the egg mixture all at once.

3. Immediately, begin to shake the pan to distribute the eggs all over the surface and up the sides. Technique varies; some suggest pulling up the sides of the omelette and tilting the pan to let uncooked egg slide under, or using a spatula to gently break holes in the eggs to let uncooked egg run there. What’s important is to never stop shaking the pan. It helps prevent any browning, a sign that the eggs are tough and you’ve overcooked it. Remember, it will keep cooking off the heat. If desired, sprinkle the interior of the omelette with herbs or a little sharp cheese.

4. Using a spatula, fold one side of the omelette one-third of the way toward the opposite side, like the first fold of a letter. Tip the omelette out of the pan with the folded side towards the plate, then roll it onto the dish so both sides are folded under. Serve immediately with buttered toast.

On Hannah Lea: Your Gitman Vintage oxford button-down.
On you: Hanes ComfortSoft tagless v-neck. Three for $11.
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classic case - This is seriously impressive.

dani - Lovely, once again.

Mariel Torres - I love this post… everything about it is marvelous! (specially the photography)

shanusstyle - I have read through many a menswear blog utilising women and as my first comment on this site I have to say, what a stunningly beautiful woman..plus as a nineteen year old guy I think the second thing behind style as a gentleman is cooking, amazing skill to have.

Christina - This is quite charming.

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