There’s More Than One Way to Skin an Eel — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, August 26th, 2014

 When faced with an ingredient like eel, most chefs would run the other way, but the judges on Chopped After Hours take the challenge in stride: “You think some slippery eels are going to shake our nerves?” retorts Aarón. Geoffrey recommends that the skin be removed, which is an important step. Only one pro chef managed to serve his dish with eel that had the skin removed in the appetizer round of the Ultimate Champions premiere. His dish turned out to be the judges’ favorite, but the other dishes left something to be desired — i.e., no skin.

Geoffrey, Chris and Aarón are cooking with the appetizer basket ingredients — eel, pepihuates, shaved coconut and sea beans — from tonight’s episode. Even though Geoffrey points out they’re not equipped to properly skin an eel, the three judges cleverly decide to parboil it first, which makes removing the skin and bones much easier compared with how the episode’s chefs struggled. The only ingredient that leaves Geoffrey flummoxed is the pepihuates. “Watch me magically transform it,” Chris asserts. Aarón explains it’s simply a Mexican tomato-based snack/drink with peanuts and a tamarind stick — not unlike a Bloody Mary, Ted thinks.

The three judges take slightly different approaches to preparing the eel: Aarón and Chris both cut the fish into lengths to boil, whereas Geoffrey boils it whole. The end result for Geoffrey is that he’s able to remove large pieces of meat for his fish and chips. Chris has trouble flaking the eel for his salad, finding there’s not enough flesh, but he manages to balance it out with his Mediterranean ingredients. Aarón takes the farthest route from the other two judges, making a Thai curry soup loaded with exotic flavorings: “The good thing about that soup is you can put anything in there,” Geoffrey tells him, “the soup is so good.” In the end, though, Aarón thinks Geoffrey did the best job with the eel: “You gave us eel,” he says.

Click on the play button on the video above to watch the entire After Hours episode and see the dishes Geoffrey, Chris and Aarón created. Then browse behind-the-scenes images for an insider’s look at the cooking.

Start a conversation with fellow fans and tell FN Dish in the comments below how you would have approached this basket: What would you make out of eel, pepihuates, shaved coconut and sea beans?

Catch up on past Chopped After Hours episodes by watching all the Web-exclusive battles online.

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Comments (15)

  1. Angie says:

    I am sooooo tired of the Chopped show. I have watched the show for a long time but just can't continue to support watching this show. This show acts like they are unbiased but repeatedly they demonstrate their bias towards men by continually advancing the men and booting off the women….early and often. It's ridiculous. I am tired of hearing the male dominated judges promote the male contestants. It's become a joke around our house… this….the woman will be booted off first. And guess what….they judges do not disappoint. Here's a thought "guys"…I challenge you to change how the contestants are judged by performing a blind taste with no knowledge of who cooked what.

    • @HornManMatt says:

      I MIGHT be tempted to listen to your vitriol, but every chef who gets chopped gets chopped for a FOOD related reason. I myself have often sat in wonderment that the ladies seem to get chopped earlier in the process, but it's still always for those pesky food related reasons rather than CHOP THE GURL!

    • Kat says:

      Did you see the ultimate champions competition? Diana won THREE competitions, and even beat out a MALE, PROFESSIONAL chef. Which is pretty cool.

  2. Lia says:

    I watch chopped all the time and all the black people always goes first Why is that and never wins .

  3. Carol says:

    Angie is correct -the women always get the boot. Nevertheless, the women judges set a high bar for tolerance and respecting their fellow judges – so I will follow their lead and gracefully ignore the obvious. Last night's show was the first Chopped After Hours that I've seen – it won't be the last!! I'll be watching for these from now on. It was incredible to see what they did with the basket from the professional chefs' round. Now we know why they're the judges!! They seemed to feel no time pressure whatsoever, as they playfully prepared truly amazing dishes from these bizarre ingredients. LOVED IT.

  4. Penny says:

    If you are female, your chances are greater that you will be chopped. I agree with Angie. It has over time become so obvious that the female is the gonna go. They allow only enough, to their thinking, women to win to keep the audience from "noticing" their bias. I'm all for blind testing, but that would probably be rigged!

  5. ray runnels says:

    i feal that a cheff that leaves a iteam off there plat should not have a chance at ultamet champ because at the beginning of each round they are told every item most be on there plate

  6. T'Berry Anne says:

    I have watched this show since it began and they admit that men win more often than women. Partially because this field has been dominated by men. My issue is that if a basket ingredient is left off, accidentally or deliberately, they should be chopped !! Especially when this is to be the best of the best !!

  7. Mary says:

    Is it just me, or has any one else noted that some contestants from chopped show up on other FN shows quite often? Usually forget about it, but had another chopped competitor on "Beat Bobby Flay" last night. Another incident that readily comes to my mind, was a Chopped winner showing up up as a judge on another competition show. How does one go from chopped winner to renowned world class chef in a year or so?

  8. L'Epicure says:

    Perhaps because their cooking is as bad as your grammar.

  9. DSH says:

    Angie is right about the women being ejected.

    As the chefs struggled woth skinning the eels, I remembered the eelskin shoes that were very popular in Korea when I lived there in the 1980s; I had a pair, and still have the matching handbag. Eelskin is pretty tough stuff! You wouldn't make shoes from, say, salmon or bass skin!

  10. NamVet69 says:

    Geoffrey Zakarian

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