In the mid-1990s following school, Rhonda Ruckman started as a pastry cook at Drakes Restaurant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana before moving down to Marco Island, Florida in 1996 for a year of pastry at Café de Marco. She then joined the Island Country Club on Marco Island for another year.
In 1997, she joined the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida as pastry cook under Great Chefs Norman Love and Keegan Gerhard. While there, she was sent up to attend The French Pastry School in Chicago under Great Chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sebastien Canonne to study pulled sugar and chocolate. In December 1998, the Great Chefs television crew showed up at the Ritz, to tape Chef Rhonda for the Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs of America series.
In 1999, she was appointed assistant pastry chef at the Four Seasons and in 2000, she moved to Dallas to open her own pastry shop, Doughmonkey, which she ran for the following eight years. By 2010, she had married, changed her name to Rhonda Lima, and moved back to Louisiana (New Orleans), where she became Corporate Pastry Chef at the Link Restaurant Group, which included Herbsaint, Couchon, Butcher, Calcasieu and Great Chef Ryan Prewitt’s Pêche Restaurant. In January 2014 she was expanding her kitchen above Butcher, which was completed earlier this year, in 2016.