What's big, fast, hairy and found in the vegetable garden? No, it's not some species of spider -- it's Biker Billy, the famed local-access-cable-show chef. The bearded Harley-Davidson enthusiast and vegetarian cook is part of the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show caravan, stopping at America's Center this weekend.
Biker Billy, a man who is unashamed to reveal sides both tough and tender, will cook at various times throughout the three-day convention and offer samples to onlookers. He is noted for his fondness for peppers, which he grows himself, and for the ferocious names of his dishes -- "Lucifer's Lasagna," "Kiss of the Devil Hot Cocoa," the "Spanish Fire Omelet," "Tortured Tortellini," "Murderous Minestrone," "Suicidal Guacamole" and "Biker Yam Pie." (Break out the Pepto, bitch!)
Looking the part of the biker badass, Billy cooks in his customary black T-shirt bearing the logo of his show, black shades and scraggly brown ZZ Top beard. He looks like a man who would be more apt to stuff an entire burrito into his face at once, followed rapidly by a six-pack of Schlitz, than a vegetarian cook and author. He will likely sell his cookbooks -- the celebrated Biker Billy Cooks With Fire: Robust Recipes from America's Most Outrageous Television Chef and the recently published Biker Billy's Freeway-a-Fire Cookbook, containing spicy recipes in addition to motorcycle safety tips.
Biker Billy, whose real name is Bill Hufnagle, has attracted the attention of the Burpee seed company, which honored him with his own strain of extra-hot jalapeno-hybrid pepper for gardeners. His cable show, in addition to step-by-step cooking and the occasional motorcycle safety tip, offers gardening instruction. Often he throws peppers and onions around the set and at the audience. Emeril Lagasse may kick it up a notch, but Billy has kick-started a spicy empire of his own.
The St. Louis Cycle World International Motorcycle Show, featuring motorcycles, ATVs, personal watercraft, clothing, accessories, demos, antiques and Biker Billy, stops at America's Center Friday-Sunday, Jan. 14-16. Call 800-331-5706 for more information.