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Dining service at its best

Jim Tallman brings culinary excellence, expertise to Devonshire

Created date

July 31st, 2017
Jim Tallman, Devonshire Director of Culinary Services.

Jim Tallman, Devonshire Director of Culinary Services.

When Jim Tallman came on staff as director of culinary services at Devonshire at PGA National, Erickson Living’s resort-style retirement community in Palm Beach Gardens, he’d achieved a long-desired goal. 

“I’m a restaurant and bar guy,” Tallman says, “but I always wanted to work in the independent living industry. I researched various companies and learned that Erickson Living was an industry leader. Its corporate culture and values really impressed me. Its level of fine dining did too.” 

Tallman brings to Devonshire a long association in food and beverage hospitality and a background in hotels, resorts, and special events. 

“Jim enjoys sharing his passion for food, wine, and special events with Devonshire’s ambitious and eager culinary staff and the over 350 community members who live here,” says Jim Wingardner, Devonshire’s executive director. “We are honored he has joined our team.”

Tallman’s resumé includes working as director of restaurants at such upscale venues as Marriott Hotels’ signature properties, including the San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk. He most recently spent six years with Tommy Bahama Restaurants. 

Those positions required lots of late hours. “I no longer wanted to work till 2 in the morning,” Tallman says, “but I didn’t want to change what I’d been doing.”

He figured Baby Boomers felt the same way: They want to move to senior living, but they don’t want to change their lifestyle.

At Devonshire he’s discovered that’s the case. “We don’t let a holiday or special event go by without making it extra special,” he says.

Taking it to the next level

Tallman’s job entails maintaining a high level of service in all five of the community’s clubhouse restaurants. So he collaborates with the executive chef, restaurant manager, and catering manager on menu development, and he’s put in place a reserve wine list for community members who desire something special for their guests.

He’s also established a new training program for servers that has generated enthusiasm throughout the culinary staff.

Tallman partners with Devonshire’s sales department to plan events such as wine tastings for its priority list members and with community resources to brainstorm new events to make holidays and celebrations even more festive.

Case in point: A recent special evening in the Cavendish, one of Devonshire’s beautifully renovated clubhouse restaurants, showcased a five-course meal paired with five different wines and featured a live jazz band. 

Come fall, Devonshire will introduce an island-inspired beverages and food menu for poolside dining. 

Tallman’s new position is everything he hoped it would be.

“Devonshire is unique,” he says. “It’s fun, and residents are so open to our ideas. There’s a lot going on here.”