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Michelin-Star Chef Frederic Delaire joins John Knox Village as their new Executive Chef

JKV Spotlight on Executive Chef Frederic Delaire: His Journey from Michelin-Starred Restaurants to Senior Living

As an award-winning Life Plan community in Pompano Beach, Florida, John Knox Village prides itself on finding incredible talent, such as Chef Frederic, and offering the very best to its residents – from life enrichment and fitness to cultural arts and dining. Chef Frederic Delaire has been a fantastic addition to John Knox Village, and we are so fortunate to have him. 

Chef Frederic grew up in southwest France in the idyllic town of Agen, one hour from Bordeaux. As a boy, he became interested in cooking as his grandfather was a well-known bread baker. He cooked at home for his family all the time. So, when he graduated high school in 1989 at 16, he was presented with a choice – culinary school or an apprenticeship at a restaurant. Being from a middle-class family, neither Frederic nor anyone in his family had ever eaten in a high-end restaurant. Imagine his surprise when his first restaurant apprenticeship was at the 2-star Michelin classic French restaurant, L’Aubergade in Puymirol, about an hour from home, where he started as a dishwasher and worked his way up to Pastry Chef.  

Struck by wanderlust after four years, Chef Frederic traveled to Germany to work with German Chef Christian Lohse at the restaurant Die Windmule in Westphalia. In 1997, he returned to France to join the team at the famous Michelin Star restaurant Jules Verne, located on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, where he worked both the meat and fish stations for three years.  

In 1999, Chef packed his bags and flew to South Florida. Among his stops as Executive Chef before joining JKV were the Historic National Hotel on South Beach and Loews Miami Beach. 

He also participated in the South Beach Wine & Food Festival for 13 years, collaborating on special dining events.  

The long hours and 7 days a week schedule running busy kitchens began to take their toll on Chef and his wife and daughter, who is now 12 years old. Chef Frederic says, “I knew I had to make adjustments to my work/life balance to spend more time with my loved ones, as well as to take care of myself.” He started looking for different opportunities. His job search led him to Lance Sanson, the VP of Dining Services at JKV. After a meeting of the minds, Sanson hired Frederic as the Executive Chef at JKV in July 2023. Adds Chef, “The reason I am at JKV is because of Sanson. He has a vision for John Knox Village, and I want to be a part of that. It is an exciting time to be here.” 

John Knox Village Executive Chef Frederic Delaire visits a table to check in with residents about their meal

Under Chef Frederic and Lance Sanson’s leadership, the dining program across the board has gone through a great metamorphosis at the 6 restaurant concepts across campus. New approaches have been implemented at the Pavilion, where there are two restaurants – The Pearl and Seaglass that share a kitchen, and a new menu has been created to better serve our residents.  The other restaurants, The Palm Bistro, Glades Grill and Poolside Pub, each have their own personality with fresh concepts. The soon-to-open Westlake Eatery and BVs French Press Coffee & Wine Bar are in menu development and will open in the summer of 2024. They will also focus on fresh, healthy, delicious options – all under the supervision of Chef Frederic. 

Get to know us and come see how Chef Frederic and the rest of the JKV community are best-in-class.  If you would like to schedule a private tour and tasting dinner at JKV, please contact VP of Sales, Kim Ali at kali@jkvfl.com, or (954) 783-4040.