You be the Judge: James Corden Says Balthazar Brouhaha was About Wife’s Food Allergy


James Corden, host of the Late Late Show with James Corden which airs on CBS, was involved in a quarrel with staff at Manhattan’s famed Balthazar, a french restaurant located in SoHo.

Soon after, restauranteur Keith McNally — who has a reputation for being an instigator on social media — took to Instagram to lambast Corden, calling him a “hugely gifted comedian, but a tiny cretin of a man” while banning him from the restaurant:

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The controversy has been brewing in the media since, and Corden decided to address the situation during the opening of his show last night.

During his apology, he explained that his wife has a serious food allergy. Despite having informed waitstaff, they failed to properly address her restrictions multiple times. After the third time, Corden said: “In the heat of the moment, I made a sarcastic, rude comment about cooking it myself. And it is a comment I deeply regret,” 

Here is Corden’s show opening addressing the Balthazar brouhaha:

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As we do in these “You be the Judge” segments, we look to you, the food allergy community, for your feedback. Was Corden justified in the original comment? Was McNally right in going public on Instagram? Is this whole episode a case of the celebrity media blowing a fairly innocuous incident way out of proportion?

Let us know your thoughts below.

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of

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  1. I was just recently diagnosed with an egg allergy. I’m allergic to both the white and the yolk, but in my research most sources said that you should avoid both even if you’re only allergic to one because it’s VERY difficult to separate the yolk from the white completely. So he was already giving them a very difficult request that could have easily endangered his wife. And it sounds like the restaurant tried their best and made a simple mistake when sending it back, a mistake that had nothing to do with the actual allergy. To me, it’s clear that his request was setting the restaurant up for failure from the start and he lost his temper far too easily over something not even related to the allergy.

  2. Food allergies can feel very exclusionary and isolating. Eating out, ordering food from already limited options painstakingly filtering out triggers and ordering something that is enjoyable is generally hard.

    Not everyone understands how restaurants operate. What may seem like a simple request may not be simple at all.

    Wish there were more information as to what she was allergic to, what she ordered, and what happened.

    I sympathize with his wife, assuming she reasonably did as much as she could to share a safe meal with friends and family.

    Not so much with the restaurant. They don’t get it. 3 attempts and failed. Then tried to overcompensate with champagne. I do sympathize with the servers. It is very hard to serve people with multiple severe food allergies, in especially during rush hours. They don’t get enough training for these things. The Balthazar should take notes from the Blue Dragon restaurant in Boston that has a system in place so that those with life-threatening allergies can safely enjoy a delicious meal.

    • In the Instagram post it says they tried to order an egg yolk omelet and sent it back when they found a tiny bit of egg white in it. The restaurant fixed it but sent it back with home fries instead of a salad, which is when Cordon blew up at them.

  3. It sounds like the restaurant could have handled this better. Taking to social media to lambaste anyone is never a great idea. If this was truly about the food allergy then he has had a public platform for many years and has yet to use his influence. I think Corden grasping at straws looking for an excuse for his bad behaviour.

  4. I find it unbelievable that his wife would risk eating something that could so easily be contaminated with an allergen. My son has a peanut allergy and we won’t eat anywhere that even has peanut products on the menu. It’s a bit harder to avoid eggs but it’s like they’re playing Russian Roulette to order egg yolks.

  5. The restaurant should never have made this public. After 3 attempts, they still couldn’t get it right, I totally understand his frustration and the sarcastic remark. It should have been dealt with privately. Balthazar has been around along time. This seems like a low class publicity grab.
    I have noticed that many restaurants these days seem to care about gluten sensitivity only; when I inform my server that I have anaphylactic allergies, and ask if I can order a certain dish, they respond with “it’s gluten free”. That’s a moment when I would very much like to reply with a sarcastic comment. But I don’t, I politely leave at this point as I can not trust that particular establishment to serve me a meal that is free of my allergens. Restaurants need to do a better job of educating their staff. Airing their dirty laundry, just to get their name out to drum up more business I assume, is unprofessional and very disappointing.


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