James Corden says wife’s food allergy sparked “ungracious” behavior at New York restaurant: “It was wrong”

A week after being labeled “the most abusive customer” to Balthazar’s staff in the New York restaurant’s 25-year-old history, James Corden publicly addressed the controversy on Monday night during CBS’ “The Late Late Show,” saying his behavior was “wrong.” 

Last week, Corden was briefly banned from popular French restaurant Balthazar after the owner posted on Instagram of two incidents in which Corden was rude to his staff. The most recent incident happened earlier this month when Corden and his wife Julia Carey went to the restaurant with a couple of their friends for breakfast.  

The problem apparently occurred when Carey received the wrong order – she had asked for an egg yolk omelette and got one with “a little bit of egg white” mixed in, according to restaurant owner Keith McNally. When they brought out the amended order, the plate had a side of home fries instead of salad. At that point, McNally said, “Corden began yelling like crazy to the server. ‘You can’t do your job! Maybe I should go into the kitchen and cook the omelette myself!'”

McNally’s recollection of the incidents sparked heavy criticism of Corden’s behavior. Corden said on Monday he had considered posting about the situation, but decided against it, saying: “‘Never complain, never explain’ is very much my motto.” 

He ultimately decided to dedicate time on his show to make a statement, he said, because “when you make a mistake, you’ve got to take responsibility.” 

Corden’s take on the October incident was that he had a heated reaction to the wrong order after his wife told the staff she “has a serious food allergy.” 

“My wife was given the food she was allergic to. But she hadn’t taken a bite of it. No worries, we sent it back, all was good,” he said on Monday. “As her meal came wrong to the table the third time, in the heat of the moment, I made a sarcastic, rude comment about cooking it myself, and it is a comment I deeply regret.” 

Initially, Corden said he didn’t think he had behaved poorly “because I didn’t shout or scream” and didn’t “call anyone names or use derogatory language.” 

Just days ago in an interview with The New York Times, Corden said that he hadn’t “done anything wrong, on any level.” 

“I feel so Zen about the whole thing,” he told The Times. “Because I think it’s so silly. I just think it’s beneath all of us. It’s beneath you. It’s certainly beneath your publication.”

But the truth is, he said on Monday, he did do something wrong. 

“I made a rude comment and it was wrong. It was an unnecessary comment. It was ungracious to the server,” he said. 

Corden said he immediately called McNally after seeing his post about the incidents and told him how “upset” he was that he had hurt people with his statements and actions. 

“We had a good talk,” he said. “He appreciated the call. I was happy that we got to clear the air and I felt like we had dealt with it privately, but by this point, the story was out there and well, people were upset. “

McNally has yet to publicly comment on Corden’s Monday night broadcast, but after The Times interview, he said he wished Corden would “live up to his Almighty initials and come clean.” 

“If the supremely talented actor wants to retrieve the respect he had from all his fans (all 4 of them) before this incident, then he should at least admit he did wrong,” McNally wrote. “If he goes one step further and apologizes to the 2 servers he insulted, I’ll let him eat for free at Balthazar for the next 10 years.”

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