WTAMU dining hall welcomes new Chef

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Chef Julio Rubio

A picture of chef Julio Rubio in the dining hall

West Texas A&M University began the 2021 spring semester with a new addition to the culinary tribe: a new chef, Julio Rubio. Chef Julio is the new executive Chef for Aramark, managers of the WTAMU dining hall. Chef Rubio was born in El Salvador but came to the United States when he was six years old. He grew up in Yonkers, NY, which is close to New York City. He is also the oldest of six siblings. Chef Rubio according to him, went to the school of hard knocks, but came out beating all the odds.

Chef Julio gained most of his training and education as an apprentice to Global Master Chef Willie Nunlist. Aramark’s new executive chef has grown through the ranks of Hilton Hotels International Cooperation and is well trained in classical French and all around the Kitchen Brigade. Not only is he a chef, but a seasoned culinary author as well.

“I started working at the age of 12 in the kitchen with my dad, who also was a chef for over 40 years, and I am a second generation of chefs,” said Chef Julio Rubio when asked about what piqued his interest into cooking. “At first, I did not want to be a chef, but it came naturally to me. In high school, I loved making dishes and experimenting with food in home economics class. My interest grew from there.”

Michael Ives is currently the Food Service Director of Aramark here at WTAMU. Like Chef Julio, Ives has dedicated much of his life to his job.

“I think we are very blessed to find someone of Chef Julio’s caliber to come here to WT,” said Micheal Ives. “And I think the students and staff and faculty are really going to reap the benefits of having someone here with his experience level.”

As his favorite meal to make, Chef Julio picked out chicken francese, roasted garlic, fresh vegetables, and roasted rosemary baby red potatoes from farm to table. According to him, guests have raved about this dish in the past, and it is one of many favorites for his wife. Just like many other great and accomplished individuals, Chef Julio has had his down times as well. As he put it, the only thing that kept him going was the passion that made him begin in the first place.

“Yes absolutely. There were many times in which I wanted to give up. Specifically, many chefs often destroy sauces and dishes and get screamed at in the walk-in coolers,” said Chef Julio. “Also, working 18-hour days with no weekends off was very taxing, and at times you want to quit and give up.”

Chef Julio, on his WTAMU experience, laid much emphasis on how much he has come to love working at WTAMU, describing the students as ‘very friendly and respectful’. He also loves the fact that the students are very honest about what they like to eat. After 30 years of a successful career, Chef Julio hopes to be at WTAMU for a long time, and even envisages retiring here and afterwards, being an author of many books and teaching others how to cook as well.

“I think Chef Rubio is very nice and very experienced, and he really knows what he is doing,” said cashier at the dining hall, Amanda Knight.

Angelica Wilson is also one of the many cooks under Chef Julio, who loves what she does.

“Chef Julio is kind of my boss, and he is very friendly, and cares about what we are serving,” said Angelica Wilson. “He comes over here to make sure it is good before we serve it.”

In his leisure time, Chef Julio spends time with his family and two dogs: Jasper and Lola. He also likes going to church and volunteering his time and talents to folks who are in need. He is also a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan, who also likes watching the NewYork Knicks play.

“As words of encouragement to others who are looking forward to becoming great chefs like myself, I like to encourage chefs to be themselves, to hate waste and love food,” said Chef Julio. “They also need to be passionate about the culinary field and not look for the paycheck, and also, to not just like cooking, but love it.”

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