Bee-zy Rider: Chef David Guas Gathers Honey on His Harley

Virginia chef goes from Bayou Bakery to biker in pursuit of farm-freshness

Chef David Guas is passionate about Southern cooking, pastries...and his Harley.

Maybe it’s the iron skillet strapped to his back. Maybe it’s the fact that his license plate reads, "ROUX." Or maybe it’s the undeniable scent of honey and fresh produce mingled with exhaust smoke he leaves in his wake. Either way, you know that the biker who just passed you on the highway has got to be a chef.

In fact, it’s chef David Guas, doing what he’s done for decades and escaping the kitchen by hitting the open road on his Harley. From time to time, he just has to get away from it all. Running the Bayou Bakery in downtown Arlington, Va., is all about creating New Orleans-style Southern comfort for D.C-area dwellers through delicious Cajun dishes and desserts, but Guas prefers biking as his own particular brand of comfort.

He loves how the Harley "taps into that sense of freedom and independence," but he’s actually part of a biker-band of like-minded industry pros in the D.C. area that call themselves the District Hogs — yes, an entire gang of Washington, D.C. restaurateurs and chefs who bike for leisure, field research, and charity.

Describing his Harley’s hue as "the color of a Japanese eggplant," it’s clear that food comes first for Guas. That’s why, as he rolls through the roads of northern Virginia every Sunday, he’s really just using his escape to spot interesting new food stands and farms across the country, from the East Coast to South Dakota.

Guas’ motorcycling hobby is pretty much the only thing that could add more to his existing rustic ethos. From the Bayou Bakery’s aesthetic to Guas’ lifelong huntin’-and-fishin’ persona, an unpolished, rough and tumble, back-to-nature approach rules. His draw toward nature has manifested recently in a fascination with fresh honey and a trip up to bee-farm Hackenberg Apiaries in Pennsylvania. Harley Davidson captured the trip and the whole essence of this hip food-world subculture in story form for its "Ridebook" project, which chronicles the bike travels of the various hardy figures that represent the face of Harley.

In the (true) story, Guas, clad in a white T-shirt and jeans (undoubtedly Levi’s), rumbles his way to Hackenberg Apiaries, fearlessly saunters, unprotected, into swarms of yellow jackets and jars some fresh honey. Then, he sets up camp in an open field and cooks up some tasty-looking cornbread in an iron skillet over an open fire, making sure to end the tale by generously drizzling it with the honey he’s procured. We’ve got to say, this story definitely made us want to ride a Harley.