Chimps Kitchen a treat for participants, a benefit to Fort Pierce sanctuary

For Vero Beach baker, Ashlee Wykoff, creating something that’s both delicious and inspiring has always been a winning combination.

So when the opportunity arose seven years ago to participate in Chimps Kitchen, a local fundraising event that mixed baking and helping chimpanzees, Wykoff couldn’t resist.

“I love animals and I love baking, what could be better?” said Wykoff.

It turns out, the timing. Having just opened, Frosting, a family owned bakery in the heart of Vero Beach, Wykoff knew it was a chance to not only market their sweet treats, but help Save the Chimps, a nonprofit chimpanzee sanctuary in Fort Pierce.

“We were looking for ways to get involved with the community and to get the word out that we were open,” Wykoff said. “Now here we are seven years later.”

On Thursday, the seventh annual Chimps Kitchen will once again take over the Cobalt Restaurant at the Vero Beach Hotel Spa, where a ticket not only gets you an array of hors d’oeuvres and desserts prepared by some of the best chefs in the city — it’s also helps support chimpanzees that call the Treasure Coast home.

“The cause is very important to me personally,” said Wykoff.

“I love animals and when I heard about the Save the Chimps organization, I was so fascinated that these chimps have been a part of science research and now they have this beautiful atmosphere where they can sort of retire to.”

Wykoff has participated in the event since the beginning, dreaming up new “chimp inspired” confections every year.

The passionate baker has created coconut filled ganache cups, banana cream custard tarts and mini key-lime pies and chocolate-covered bananas.

“The fun part is really kind of coming up with the different flavor combinations,” Wykoff said.

“Each year we sort of try to change it up a little bit just because we’re always doing the desserts and a lot of the people who attend come every year and they really love that kind of novelty.”

Triana Romero, of Save the Chimps, couldn’t agree more.

“This has become our signature event — it’s something people really look forward to and it’s been really successful for our organization with all the proceeds going directly to the chimps,” Romero said.

In addition to the all you can eat hors d’oeuvres and dessert, Romero said there will be many silent auctions and raffles for items such as a Jamaican getaway, Tiffany pieces and behind the scene tours to nature sanctuaries, including Save the Chimps.

“It’s truly a night of fun because people get a chance to try delicious food and they take away great things, but in the process they’ve helped the chimpanzees,” Romero said. “It’s all around a success for everyone.”

Chimps Kitchen

What: Save the Chimps fundraiser

When: 6-9 p.m., Thurs. Nov. 5

Where: Cobalt Restaurant at the Vero Beach Hotel and Spa, 3500 Ocean Drive, Vero Beach

Tickets: $100 per person; $175 per couple. Tickets sold in advance and at the door. Includes wine, beer, banana daiquiris hors d’oeuvres created and donated by local celebrity chefs.

Information: 772-429-2225 or

Participating Chefs:

Chef Ron Adams: Bobby’s Restaurant and Lounge

Executive Chef Rachel Bourbon: Cobalt Restaurant

Executive Chef Andrew Carmack and pastry chef Timothy Blouin: Grand Harbor

Chef Eric Smith: Windsor

Executive Chef Ben Tench: The Moorings Yacht and Country Club

Pastry Chefs Ashlee and Ryan Wykoff: Frosting and Grind + Grape


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