Steamboat Springs While cleaning out his desk earlier this year, Chuck Bell came across a secret recipe in his old college lab book: frozen orange chocolate souffle.
He whipped and folded and served up a trial run on Tuesday afternoon at his "office" in the Snowbird Restaurant at the Best Western Ptarmigan Inn.
Bell is one of more than a baker's dozen of chefs slated to prepare and serve desserts at the 18th annual Decadent Desserts gala Sunday evening at the Catamount Ranch and Club.
The proceeds from the event will benefit Advocates Against Battering and Abuse.
Sunday's silent and live auction and food feast is Advocates' primary fund-raising function.
"I really want to thank the businesses, chefs and the community," Advocates Executive Director Diane Moore said. "Without this generosity, this wouldn't be possible. We are so excited. We really wanted to enthuse the community, the chefs and the restaurants."
With the summer tourism and wedding season in full swing, many of the chefs and restaurants participating in this weekend's festivities are busy, and the preparation that goes into making hundreds of frozen orange chocolate souffles, for example, is time consuming.
"But it's such a good cause," Bell said.
According to national statistics, one in four women and one in six men is abused in his or her lifetime.
There are about 16,000 residents in Routt County, split almost evenly in gender.
That means, statistically, nearly 2,000 women and 1,280 men here will succumb to some form of abuse either as a child or an adult.
Some of the programs that will benefit from money raised during Sunday's event include Advocates youth services that help identify bullying and sexual assault among teens, as well as Advocates' shelter, which, Moore said, is full.
"Domestic and sexual violence touches a lot of people," Moore said. "On the other hand, it's tough to talk about and think about. This is a way people can participate."
Tickets to the event are $25 and are available at Cantafio's, Sleepoverzzz, All That Jazz, Off the Beaten Path and at the Catamount Golf Clubhouse door the night of the event.
"We were really pleased they decided to have the event out here," Catamount head chef Damon Renfroe said. "We are really excited and hope for a good turnout."
Renfroe will be serving appetizer trays, along with mini crab cakes with chipotle remoulade sauce and sesame seared tuna on crispy wantons with cucumber salsa, sweet soy and wasabi aioli.
The Decadent Desserts event is scheduled to run from 6 to 9 p.m.
The benefit includes a live auction scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. and a silent auction that is scheduled to run from 6 p.m. until about 8:30 p.m.
The Steamboat Jazz Quartet will be on hand for entertainment, and desserts, hors d' oeuvres and sparkling wine will be served.
There also will be a cash bar.
"This is a celebration of the community working together to combat this problem," Advocates Against Battering and Abuse board President Bob Larson said. "There are so many behind the scenes that help out."