Born and raised in Chicago, IL Chef Ruben Lemus Jr. says he has enjoyed cooking since he was young, assisting in his mother’s kitchen while she cooked molé, tamales, menudo and other traditional Mexican staples. Opting to forgo culinary school at first, he broke into the business early when he purchased his restaurant in Premont, TX.
When his stint in Premont was finished, Lemus moved to McAllen and began his culinary education at South Texas College, and shortly thereafter received his Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts. Upon receiving his degree in May 2013, he worked for some local eating establishments before finding his true calling in education.
He returned to STC as an instructor in January 2014, and eventually became Department Chair of STC’s Culinary Arts Department. Chef Lemus teaches the Advanced Food Prep class, one of the final classes students take before graduation. Lemus also Capstone, which assist students with finding internships in the region so they receive hands-on experience before graduating.
“We work very hard to mimic real world experience,” Chef Ruben said. “It’s invaluable for them to have that experience, to have them deal with a lunch rush or just deal with the things that happen on a day to day basis in a commercial kitchen.”
As a message to students, Chef Ruben says he always emphasizes that they should do what they enjoy. After all, he says, if it’s something they enjoy doing it will make it much more worthwhile. Lemus says he chose culinary arts because it was something he loved to do, and the effort he put into it allowed him to receive a fulfilling career while pursuing a lifelong dream.