Ruben’s story is the tale of the true American dream. Born in Tlaxcala, Mexico, Ruben is the son of a mechanic and a stay-at-home mother. He came to Napa Valley in 1989 in search of a better life, and his first job was as a dishwasher at Tra Vigne Restaurant. While washing dishes, he noticed that he gravitated towards baking. “Even before I became a baker, I was watching how someone was forming the dough and making the bread. I loved watching the baking,” he says. He quickly was promoted from washing dishes and started baking breads, making all of the homemade pastas and doing all of the prep for anything on the Tra Vigne menu that involved dough.
Head Baker/Owner/Partner Panorama Bakery
In 1993, the owners of Tra Vigne opened Panorama Bakery at its first location in Petaluma (with a second opening later in Redwood City.) Ruben was given the opportunity to leave Tra Vigne and work as a baker at Panorama, becoming head baker and a partner in 1996. A few years later, both bakery locations were consolidated to the current Panorama home on Florida Street in San Francisco.
Most of Ruben’s immediate family are involved in the bakery, including his sister Alicia, Director of Operations, and his brother Paco who works with Ruben on the bakery floor. His two sons can often be found helping their mother at the Panorama Farmer’s Market stands.
When he’s not working, which is a rarity, Ruben relaxes by working on automobiles and practicing the mechanics he learned from his father, but mostly enjoys spending time with his three children.
Ask Ruben about baking and he says “I don’t even think about it, I just love it. To feel the dough, to develop the recipe, I enjoy that and I do it well. Bread dough – it’s a natural living being that becomes something we eat. And I just love that.”