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A passion for food

Highland Springs welcomes Debbie Malone, new director of dining services

Created date

April 23rd, 2013

Debbie Malone has spent the better part of three decades in the food service industry. My most recent position was in food service management, but I ve worked at every position in the kitchen, says Malone, the new director of dining services at Highland Springs, an Erickson Living community in North Dallas. I recognize the value of a team that s focused on hospitality, quality, and service. Prior to joining the staff at Highland Springs, Malone was the corporate food service director for Bank of America. She oversaw the associate caf s, executive dining, conference centers, and office beverage program. A longtime Dallas resident, Malone earned a leadership certificate through the executive MBA program at Southern Methodist University. When I interviewed for the position at Highland Springs, I was struck by the friendliness of the residents and staff, says Malone. Now that I ve been here five months, I realize that friendliness is the hallmark of the community. This is a lovely demographic of people. In her new role, Malone oversees operations at the community s two on-site restaurants, Chisholm s and the Cotton Belt Caf . She also manages dining services at the continuing care neighborhood, which opened in February. We have a terrific culinary team here, says Malone. Chef Jason [Foss, executive chef] is talented and passionate about what he puts on the plate. And Joyce [Cates, restaurant manager] is like our very own Paula Deen. She is full of energy and ideas.

Voice of the resident

Malone recognizes that residents may have a few ideas of their own. I want to engage residents in the dining experience, says Malone. I value their input. Malone meets with members of the resident-led dining services and menu committees each month, brainstorming ways to keep the dining program exciting and fresh. One of the great benefits of this job is getting to know our residents, learning their preferences, and trying ideas I think they will like, says Malone, who recently implemented an action station in the Cotton Belt Caf , offering a specialty cooked-to-order entr e each day. The new action station is terrific, says resident and dining services committee member Charles Alspach, who recently enjoyed a Cuban pork sandwich cooked in front of him. It s nice to have another option in the caf .

Keeping it fresh

As she looks ahead, Malone has more action stations planned for both the Cotton Belt Caf and Chisholm s Restaurant to complement the menu offerings. The dining committee is considering a few ideas, including freshly baked pizzas, an Italian action station, or a Greek action station, says Malone. We want to engage residents and give them choices.