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How to make the perfect poached egg

Boiled, scrambled or poached; eggs are delicious in all ways, but they’re not always easy to get right.

In our second MasterClass with the MasterChef series, the one and only Mary Berg shows us how to make the perfect poached egg and three-cheese souffléd omelette.


The Perfect Poach
Makes 4 eggs


  • 4 very fresh eggs
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

For the perfect poached eggs, you will need the following kitchen equipment:

  • 1 straight sided skillet filled with 1 ½” water
  • 1 fine mesh sieve
  • 4 small heatproof bowls
  • 1 slotted spoon
  • 1 paper towel lined plate



  1. Place your skillet over medium heat and bring the water to a simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, crack one egg into the fine mesh sieve and gently jiggle it around a little.  This will allow any runny bits of egg white to run off leaving you with just the yolk and firm part of the white.  Gently tip your egg into one of your small heatproof bowls and continue with the rest of your eggs.
  3. When the water has reached a simmer, add in 2 teaspoons of white vinegar and 1 ½ teaspoons of salt.  The vinegar changes the pH of the water, making the egg whites firm up quicker and the salt increases the density of the water helping the eggs hold together and hover over the bottom of the pan.
  4. Gently place each egg into the simmering water by lowering and tipping the bowl halfway into the pan.  Allow the eggs to cook for 2 ½ - 3 ½ minutes depending on how runny you like your yolks.  Personally, I’m more of a 3 ½ minute girl.  That gives me a yolk that is halfway between runny and creamy.
  5. When the eggs are done to your liking, use a slotted spoon to scoop the eggs out of the water.  Gently place them onto your paper towel lined plate to dry off and serve however you see fit!



Three Cheese Souffléd Omelette
Makes 1 – 7” omelet


  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons grated cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped chives or parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to season



  1. Heat a 7” nonstick skillet over medium low, arrange your top oven rack about 6-8” below your broiler, and turn the broiler on to high.
  2. Meanwhile, separate your eggs by placing the yolks in a medium bowl and the whites into a very clean large metal or glass bowl.  When separating your eggs, it is important to make sure that no yolk gets into your whites.  Even the littlest bit of yolk or fat can stop your whites from whipping up.
  3. Using a clean metal whisk or hand mixer, whip up the egg whites until they are fluffy and hold soft peaks.  Set those aside and whisk up the egg yolks with a bit of salt.  The yolks need to be whisked for about 10 seconds or so, just until they lighten up a bit.  
  4. Using a metal spoon or large whisk, gently fold the yolks into the whites just until combined.  The mixture will fall a bit and lose some of its fluffiness but be careful not to over stir as this will ruin the soufflé.  A few streaks in the mixture are just fine so, if in doubt, under mix!
  5. Pop the butter into your preheated pan, swirl around a bit so that the bottom and edges of the pan are nicely coated, and gently pour the egg mixture into the pan.  Cook the omelette over medium low heat for 1 minute, gently sprinkle the cheeses on top, and pop the pan under the broiler for 2-4 minutes or until the cheese just begins to turn golden.
  6. Remove the omelette from the oven and, if desired, carefully fold it over on itself and transfer to a plate.  Top with a scattering of chives or parsley and a bit more salt and pepper, if desired.