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McLean chef puts reality show contestants on hot seat

Shrimp Creole, BBQ shrimp, shrimp roll, shrimp jambalaya, spicy poached shrimp.

No, that isn’t dialog from “Forrest Gump” but rather a sampling of the New Orleans classics served at the Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery in Arlington, owned by chef and longtime McLean resident David Guas.

As a restaurateur, cookbook author, NBC “Today” Show regular and father of two, Guas is used to wearing many hats. This summer, though, the “N’awlins” native can be seen wearing a different toque. He’s the host and a judge for the Travel Channel’s new 16-episode series, “American Grilled,” which premiered July 2.

Shot in a different city each week, the reality show pits grill masters of various backgrounds against one another in an outdoor cooking challenge. Guas turns up the heat as contestants test their skills by serving up original plates that showcase the grill and embrace local flavors. Each “American Grilled” episode starts with four competitors, but in the end only one walks away with the $10,000 prize.

Guas began his career in the pastry kitchen at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans under renowned chef Jeff Tunks. In 1998, Guas moved to McLean to work as the pastry chef for the launch of Tunks’ restaurant, DC Coast. Over the next decade, he worked as a corporate pastry chef for Passion Food Hospitality, where he developed the dessert menus for each of Tunks’ subsequent four restaurants.

Guas is set to open his second venue in the fall, on the grounds of Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital on Capitol Hill.

The seasoned chef is not new to television, having appeared on the Food Network and Cooking Channel. His cookbook, “DamGoodSweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth, New Orleans Style,” was a James Beard Award finalist and named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Dessert Cookbooks.” For its 10-year anniversary celebration, Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine honored Guas, who presented a cake in her honor and was featured as one of the “Ten Best Pastry Chefs in the Country.”

Viewers can tune in to the Travel Channel at 9 p.m. July 16 for the next episode, “Going Whole Hog,” taped in Charlottesville. For more, visit

Vienna resident leads county drug-prevention group

Sara Freund of Vienna is the new executive director of the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County, which works to prevent substance abuse and keep Fairfax County youth and young adults safe and drug-free.

Freund, who has served as deputy executive director and program director, assumed her new duties July 1.

She succeeds Diane Eckert, who will continue to serve UPC as deputy executive director. Under Eckert’s leadership, UPC became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has grown to include more than 60 community partners and an award-winning high school Youth Council.

“UPC is fortunate to have the leadership of Diane Eckert and Sara Freund,” said UPC President Lisa Adler. “Diane and Sara are looking forward to switching positions to capitalize on their respective strengths to better advance the needs and future growth of the coalition.”

Freund came to the prevention field a decade ago after more than 20 years as a senior association executive for a national business trade association. She organized the “Parents Who Host, Lose the Most” public education campaign, targeting adults with information on underage drinking laws and tips to prevent it.

Freund also has coordinated the acclaimed “Perils of the College Drinking Culture” program, first launched in 2010 for college-bound students and their parents.

She helped develop and implement UPC’s “Don’t Drink and Drive campaign,” working with law enforcement and others to reduce alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes involving drivers age 18-24. She previously served as a member of the Fairfax County Oversight Committee on Drinking and Driving and as coordinator and president of the Vienna-Madison Community Coalition.

A graduate of Vanderbilt University’s School of Engineering, Freund has done graduate work at New York University in administrative law and at George Mason University in education.

Teachers learn new ways to teach science

This month 12 Fairfax County teachers are attending the Elementary Science Institute, sponsored by the Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement, taking place at George Mason University.

The teachers selected for the program are Christina Haramis, Riverside Elementary; Kathie Pfeffer-Hahn and Jennifer Walker, Forest Edge Elementary; William McCoy and Amanda Walker, Hutchison Elementary; Katie Cuellar, Kevin Doyel, Alexis Jacoby and Bridgette Simpson, Keene Mill Elementary; and Ashley Hart, Michele Panczyszyn and Christine Phalon, Willow Springs Elementary.

The Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement for elementary teachers is a year-long professional development project designed to change the way science is taught in schools across the state.

Funded by one of the biggest STEM grants ever awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, VISTA shows teachers how to shift from the traditional lecture-led classroom to problem-based learning. Problem-based learning, a growing trend in education, examines “real world” problems and encourages students to think like scientists to find solutions.

In addition to the free, four-week program, each teacher receives a $5,000 stipend; $1,000 in teaching resources, science materials and web content for their classrooms; a master teacher assigned to coach them in the new teaching method throughout the school year; and an all-expense-paid trip to the Virginia Association of Science Teachers Professional Development Institute in the fall.

Herndon nonprofit recognizes graduates

The Closet of Greater Herndon recently awarded $15,000 in college scholarships to 12 deserving high school graduates in ceremonies at five local high schools.

The 2014 scholarship recipients from Fairfax County are T’re Thomani Brown and Iram Saqib, Herndon; Wana Chiwevu and Elizabeth Scarcella, Mountain View; Omar Abderhman and Jazmine Carter, Oakton; and Rida Kayani, Tyler Liboro and Karla Orellana, South Lakes.

Three students from Park View High School in Sterling also received scholarships.

Since 1974 The Closet, a nonprofit thrift shop founded and operated by area faith-based communities, has awarded nearly $440,000 in college scholarships to more than 400 students.

Donations of clothing and small household items may be dropped off at the store from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and 5 to 8 p.m. Thursdays in June, July and August. For more information, visit

Fairfax day school receives grants for excellence

Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies has awarded Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax up to $200,000 in scholarship grants in recognition of its academic excellence.

The grants will make it easier for members of the Jewish community to enroll at Gesher, which consistently produces students who go on to the finest area high schools and often to top-tier universities. Of last year’s eighth-grade graduates, 17 percent currently attend the selective Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

The campus is set on 57 acres of forested parkland that includes a vernal pond, vegetable garden and wetlands. Gesher students engage in hands-on programs that integrate scientific studies and Jewish values. Gesher encourages critical thinking skills and creativity at all levels.

Based in Washington, D.C., Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies is the umbrella for the personal charitable giving of Manny Friedman and a portion of the giving of his family foundations.