Josephine Castillo was born in 1950 in Brownsville, Texas, and learned cooking from her grandmother, who was from Monterrey, Mexico. After graduating from the Texas Women’s University, she became a home economist, first with Microwave Oven Center in 1978, and then with Landlock Seafood from 1982 to 1987.
In 1986, the Great Chefs television team began taping their Great Chefs of the West television series for PBS and needed an expert on tamales and fajitas, so they caught up with Chef Castillo in Houston and taped her for one segment which appeared in episode #16. She also appeared in the one-hour PBS special titled “Down Home Cooking”.
In 1988, she became a culinary instructor for Houston’s Independent School District at their At Risk campus, where she remains today, in 2017.