Sexual Assault Services Organization will hold its ninth annual Collaborative Chef’s Showcase, an evening of culinary creativity and fundraising in the community, on Nov. 2 at the Henry Strater Theatre, 699 Main Ave.
SASO, celebrating its 40th year as an organization, gives Durango chefs an opportunity to come together at the Strater to create a six-course meal, paired with wines and artisan beverages, for what typically turns out to be a packed house.
“It’s the largest, and only, fundraiser for SASO that happens each year. Durango is so fortunate to have gifted, creative culinary talent, and the Collaborative Chef’s Showcase gives them a night to share their gifts for a very important cause,” said Maura Doherty Demko, SASO executive director.
A theme gives them a general guideline each year, though the final culinary presentation emerges from the collaboration as something special, and unexpected. For example, past years have developed themes such as apple and pear, and each course of the dining experience will incorporate an aspect of the fruit. This year’s meal will be based on a “harvest” theme and will feature 10 chefs, two beverage providers and live jazz performed by Fort Lewis College music students.
“It’s a beautiful thing when people get to come together and create. The theme is ‘collaboration’ before anything else. It’s always an amazing night,” Demko said.
Ryan Lowe of the Ore House will lead the collaborative this year, which includes chefs and participating guests: Beau Black of the Bookcase and Barber; Brian Dowler of Cyprus Cafe; Chris Crowl of Eolus Bar and Dining; Cliff Bornheim of the Ore House; Dave Cuntz of Carvers Brewing Co.; Dennis Morrisroe of Seasons of Durango; Sean Clark of El Moro Spirits and Tavern and Steamworks Brewing Co.; Neal Drysdale of the Strater Hotel; Seanan Culloty of Ken and Sue’s; Brooke Smith of Winesellers LTD; and Leah Deane of Grand Vin.
Jazz will be performed by FLC music students: Tom Willhoit, piano; Chris Spears, standing bass; Chris Moraga, drums; and John Leeah, saxophone.
Doors open for general admission ticket-holders at 6 p.m.; VIP ticket-holders will be admitted at 5:45 p.m. Seating for dinner will start at 6:30 p.m., after hors d’oeuvres are served. Attendees are asked to dress in Durango black-tie attire.
“It is truly a night of community collaboration thanks to the Strater Hotel, featured restaurants, Lightning Communication, Grand Vin, Winesellers Ltd., Durango Party Rental, Fort Lewis Music Program, First National Bank of Durango, and all the SASO community supporters who attend,” Demko said.
Proceeds from ticket sales and donations go to support direct service to victims of sexual assault and prevention programming to stop sexual violence in the Durango community. The past two years gathered $20,000 for SASO, and the goal is to raise that amount during this year’s culinary collaborative.
SASO, originally known as the Rape Intervention Team, was formed in 1977 by a hospital social worker and volunteers who were frustrated about difficulties women face when seeking assistance for sexual assaults.
The organization offers a 24-hour confidential hot line, prevention programs for students, outreach to vulnerable populations and support groups for victims of sexual assault.
General admission tickets are $150, and VIP tickets are $175. The event has been known to sell out during past years, but tickets are still available at the SASO office, 701 Camino del Rio, Suite 312, and the Strater Hotel, 699 Main Ave.
For more information, call the SASO office at 259-3074.