By Mark Boshnack
The Daily Star
---- — The Cooking Channel is serving up some local cuisine on a Thursday episode of “Hook, Line & Dinner” titled “Catskills.”
In the half-hour episode airing at 8 p.m., host Ben Sargent brings eels caught in the Delaware River in Hancock to the Andes Hotel for cooking, according to the show website.
The premise of the show is that Sargent regularly takes viewers on a road trip uncovering the secrets and stories of expert fishermen, highlighting the awe-inspiring journey from sea to table, the website said.
Andes Hotel chef and co-owner Ed O’Neill shows Sargent how to cook eel Provencal and smoked eel chowder.
The show is on Time Warner Cable Channel 135. Other dates and times it is airing can be found at the show’s website, www.cookingchanneltv.com/hook-line-dinner/catskills/index.html. The recipes are also online.
O’Neill said he got a call from one of the production coordinators about being on the show in mid-September, and the episode was shot Sept. 28.
He was excited to be selected.
“Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to be on television?” he said. He said he found the show’s host to be “a very nice guy,” who was inquisitive and looked to get involved.
“It was a lot of fun,” O’Neill said. The film crew was helpful and gracious, he said. “All in all it was a very good day.”
This is the first time O’Neill has been involved with anything like this at his current residence, he said. O’Neill, who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park in 1994, had some experience with television while working for various Manhattan chefs until he purchased the hotel in 2001.
O’Neill said he is preparing some smoked eel chowder for the menu at the hotel restaurant for people to enjoy Thursday. This includes those who want to come to watch the show on the large-screen television at the hotel and O’Neill’s Shire Pub in Delhi, which O’Neill also owns with his wife, Sally.
The show starts with a “crafty recluse” on the river showing Sargent how to rebuild a weir and learning to fish for eels and smoke them, according to show’s website. He is shown these skills by veteran fisherman Ray Turner, owner of Delaware Delicacies Smokehouse in Hancock.
Turner said that having been the subject of articles in the New York Times and other publications, if the show was looking to highlight eel fishing, “I was it.”
Catching eels with a weir is similar to panning for gold, he said.
“We had a good time” filming the episode, Turner said, which is a requirement for anyone wanting to fish with him.