Cook with aphrodisiacs alongside Steamboat chef while supporting the local Humane Society |

Cook with aphrodisiacs alongside Steamboat chef while supporting the local Humane Society

The Routt County Humane Society is hosting a Cooking and Cuddles fundraiser, which involves a live cooking experience with Cafe Diva executive chef Kate Rench.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Valentine’s Day is going to be extra romantic this year.

Everyone is home and spending time together and exploring new creative outlets and habits. Many have already taken up cooking, but a select few can take their new skill to the next level by cooking with Cafe Diva’s executive chef Kate Rench through Routt County Humane Society’s Cooking and Cuddles fundraiser.

That sounds too good to be true: cooking a gourmet meal with one of the best chefs in the area while supporting dogs and cats? The catch: only 50 people will have the pleasure to do so.

The live cooking class takes place at 6 p.m. Feb. 17. Platinum tickets at $200 include the cooking kit, which provides food for two and other special gifts for participants and their furry family members. Gold tickets are $100 and don’t come with the food, but rather an ingredients list, as well as a bottle of wine.

Tickets can be purchased at

Cooking and Cuddles is a virtual spin on the Routt County Humane Society’s Valentines Day dinner, one of its usual fundraisers.

“It was kind of a take off of that, but trying to make it more enticing,” said Elaine Hicks, Routt County Humane Society executive director. “To have a chef and gourmet cooking, it just kind of blossoms. It took the idea from the Valentine’s Day event and broadened the scope of that a little bit.”

Cooking and Cuddles means that cuddling with pets is highly suggested during the evening, but participants might be cuddling up to a significant other if Rench’s menu works. Rench has selected a recipe with a handful of aphrodisiacs, or foods that supposedly get people in a romantic mood.

There also will be a separate video with a signature cocktail from Steamboat Whiskey Co. and a prerecorded dessert demonstration so people can enjoy their meal and learn the dessert later.

If you “go”

What: Cooking and Cuddles

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17

Where: Virtual

Cost: $100 or $200 at

“Don’t get nervous,” Rench said. “It’s not going to be super difficult, and we’re going to prerecord the dessert, so you’ll be able to go back and do it the next day. Just have fun.”

Most aphrodisiacs aren’t scientifically proven to increase sexual desire, but there are some theories as to why they might work anyway.

Rench’s recipe includes salmon, ginger, chili peppers, honey, black beans, avocados and strawberries.

Ginger is a stimulant for the circulatory system, and the capsaicin, or heat, in chili peppers will increase heart rate and release endorphins.

Kate Rench is the executive chef at Café Diva in Steamboat Springs. She's hosting a live cooking experience as part of the Routt County Humane Society fundraiser, Cooking and Cuddles.

Honey will sweeten the evening for sure. During the 5th century, couples would drink mead, made of honey, for the first month, or moon cycle, of their marriage. This is where the term honeymoon comes from.

Salmon is said to help libido by providing the building blocks needed to the body to produce estrogen, testosterone and progesterone.

Some aphrodisiacs are simply sexual in appearance, not so much by what they provide the body. Strawberries have been aphrodisiacs since the Romans considered the heart-shaped fruit a symbol of Venus, the goddess of love.

Avocado trees were called Ahuacuatl by the Aztecs, or “testicale tree,” since the fruit hung in pairs that resembled testicles.

Whether these foods actually increase sex drive and desire, cooking can be something couples do together.

“I want to support the Humane Society and bring the community together over such a horrible time,” Rench said. “Some people can find joy in cooking.”

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