Chef Bill Connors’ famous omelets make students line up for a homemade treat

By Gus Bode

Factoid:Chef Bill omelets can be found at Lentz and Trueblood Dining Halls every other Thursday. Next Thursday, he will be at Trueblood Dining Hall.

Kyle Burnside waits anxiously. The treat that only visits Lentz Dining Hall every other week had caused an excruciatingly long line, and Burnside must wait his turn. He moves up slowly, but still, he continues to wait for the next 45 minutes.

Then, finally, it was time. The radio-television freshman from Downer’s Grove muttered three things:”green peppers, ham and tomato.”


It was his first Chef Bill omelet.

Chef Bill omelets have been a residence hall tradition for more than five years. The tasty treats have been known to cause long lines as students wait in turn to watch Bill Connors take their favorite ingredients and turn them into a mouth-watering omelet.

Connors attributes the idea to Cynthia Ketring, the food production manager for Lentz Dining Hall. However, she said they were both involved in the creation of Chef Bill omelets.

She said she had attended a conference at another school, where students ordered omelets, which gave her the initial idea.

“It was Bill who said he could travel between cafeterias,” she said.

Connors had previously cooked omelets in a hotel in Chicago, where he graduated from Washburn Trade School in 1985. Connors, who had attended SIUC for two years in search of an engineering degree, came back to Carbondale in 1994. Three years later, he was once again creating made-to-order omelets.

Connors admitted he could cook up to six omelets at one time, but keeps the number at four so he can keep track of what omelet belongs to who. Even still, he sometimes gets things mixed up.


“Sometimes I get to gabbing too much and I lose track,” he said. “But most students keep an eye on their omelet, so I can figure it out.”

Connors said the gift of gab is in important aspect to the Chef Bill omelet. Students do not just stand in line for half an hour for the food; the presentation also draws them in. He said he enjoys the interaction.

“They don’t just come for the food,” he said. “They come for the show.”

Sarah Bruer, a zoology sophomore from Decatur, said Connors himself is an intricate part of a Chef Bill omelet.

“He talks to the students and tells stories,” she said. “He doesn’t just stand there. He’s entertaining.”

Amyee Saari agreed that Connors is a nice guy and that he makes really good omelets, but she would never stand in line for 30 minutes for an omelet.

“I get one if the lines aren’t too long, but the most I’ll wait is fifteen minutes for an omelet,” said Saari, an undecided sophomore from Peotone.

Within the past few years, Connors has expanded his made-to-order business beyond omelets.

He has been known to make made-to-order stir-fries, pancakes, pastas and fajitas.

“It’s good, it’s different, it’s fresh and it’s made right in front of you,” Connors said.

He has also participated in Fun Food Fridays in Lentz Dining Hall and Foodtastic Fridays in Trueblood Dining Hall. He has also been known to make homemade salsa and genuine German food. And he plans to continue making the popular Chef Bill omelets for years to come.

Burnside said he has learned his lesson, and now gets to Lentz Dining Hall early on Chef Bill days so that he doesn’t have a 45-minute wait.

“They’re just really good omelets,” he said.

Reporter Katie A. Davis can be reached at [email protected]