John Knox Village Welcomes New Dining Services Director

florida retirement communityPOMPANO BEACH – 6/23/2015 – Joe Mallen does some of his best thinking while driving—and that is a good thing for John Knox Village.

As John Knox Village’s newest Director of Dining Services, the Palm Beach Gardens resident has a 47- to 51-mile, one-way commute from house to office depending on whichever MapQuest preferred-route he takes—either of which provides him with plenty of think/drive time.

“I usually prefer the Turnpike over I-95, but some days you just never know what the traffic is going to be,” said Mallen, who comes to John Knox Village with more than 25 years of senior-level operational management experience in the food and beverage divisions of retail and long-term care industries.

Mallen has spent the past 12 years in the Orlando area, working for the past five as Senior District Manager for the Healthcare Services Group, a company that provides dining and nutritional services to senior living communities around the country.

“I relocated to (our) area and spent the past year helping with my parents who were having some significant struggles,” he said. “They are doing better now, and when the opportunity to work at John Knox Village presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity.”

Some of the ideas the New York native has thought about include providing: “more organic, wholesome foods, gluten-free, vegan items and farm to table recipes,” he said. “I’m also going to be looking for an Executive Chef who will interact with the residents, come out in the white (chef’s) hat and put on the whole show, while also overseeing the kitchen.”

The culinary opportunities within the currently under construction The Woodlands at John Knox Village, once it opens next year, proved appetizing to Joe as well. The $34 million project will be Florida’s first skilled nursing center to adopt The Green House model of care.

“To be on the ground floor of a skilled nursing center as unique as The Woodlands, with its new bistro and food preparation expectations, is very exciting,” he said. “The challenge to deliver high quality, nutritious meals along with working with the Shahbazims (caregivers in The Woodlands at John Knox Village) is something I am ready to work on.”

A self-proclaimed “foodie,” who started baking brownies with his mother before he could reach the kitchen counter without a stool, Mallen has had stints at Ghirardelli Chocolate, The Cheesecake Factory, Logan’s Roadhouse restaurants and Red Lobster/Darden Restaurant Group.

“One of the most amazing things about food is its ability to transport you culinarily to another place and time,” he said. “I may not be able to get to Paris anytime soon, but a delicious French dish could give me the feeling, at least for a little while.”

In his first big event, Mallen and his staff received kudos from inside and outside John Knox Village for their work during the Village’s Eighth Annual Silver Angels Awards dinner, at which his team served some 120 guests a delicious three-course meal.

“It was nice to get the compliments we got, but I am a perfectionist, so I saw areas for improvement,” he said. “You are only as good as your last meal, but that’s a challenge I enjoy thinking about.” Probably while on his way home from a successful dining event.

For more information about The Woodlands at John Knox Village, visit the Website (, but this innovative, nationally recognized initiative was founded by THE GREEN HOUSE® Project. It acknowledges the individuality of seniors and honors their autonomy, choice, privacy and dignity. It’s a new level of person-centered care that gives seniors meaningful life in a loving home and empowers staff dedicated to protecting, sustaining and nurturing the lives of our seniors.

The building will feature of total of seven floors and 144 private rooms and bathrooms. Each of the top six floors will have two Green House homes that will accommodate 12 seniors per home for short-term rehabilitative services and long-term nursing care. The first floor features a multi-purpose convocation room, bistro, rehabilitation services, a spa and an area for training purposes.

John Knox Village is a not-for-profit continuing care retirement community that provides a full range of life-care services for those aged 62 and greater. John Knox Village is located at 651 S.W. Sixth Street in Pompano Beach, just east of I-95 and south of Atlantic Boulevard. For more information, contact our Marketing Department, at (954) 783-4040, or visit us at (

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A driven man, Joseph Mallen, John Knox Village’s new Director of Dining Services, is leading a team that provides more than 1,000 meals a day across our 65-acre campus.