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Teachable Moment

Omelets the Hamp way.

Joanne Keller serving up one of her famous omelets.
John Solem

There's almost always a line in front of Joanne Keller's six-burner stove in Hampshire Dining Commons at UMass Amherst. Students are here for the omelets—and for Keller's reliably sunny morning greetings. Having cooked eggs five hours a day since 2008, she's perfected some signature moves wielding a flexible fish turner (a standard spatula works, too). Here's how to make a hearty omelet her way in three to four minutes:

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in an 8-inch nonstick pan over medium heat. Sauté your fillings of choice until soft. Pour 3 beaten eggs into the pan over the fillings.

THE SHAKE. Shake the pan on the burner to distribute the eggs and fillings evenly.

THE FLIP. When the omelet begins to lift from the edges of the pan, use a spatula and a quick turn of your wrist to flip it, following with the pan underneath as security.

THE PRESS. Press down on the omelet with the spatula to ensure it cooks through. Flip and press again. With the spatula, fold your omelet in half and slide it onto a plate. Serve with a smile and, if it’s the student’s birthday, a candle.