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PHP Wins National Award for Five Star Dining Program
PLANO, Texas — Move over celebrity chefs Dean Faring and Stephan Pyles. Presbyterian Hospital of Plano has joined the ranks of such famed dining establishments as Dallas’ The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Los Angeles’ Spago, New Orleans’ Commander’s Palace and New York City’s Rainbow Room as this year’s recipient of the restaurant industry’s prestigious Ivy Award.

Award-winning food service is featured at Presbyterian Hospital of Plano. 

One of the oldest and most coveted industry accolades, the Ivy Award is given annually by Restaurants and Institutions (R&I) magazine to a select group of restaurants, hotels and noncommercial food operators that exemplify the highest standards of excellence in food and service. Established in 1971, the award has become the ultimate recognition for the best and brightest in food service, particularly as winners are nominated by past Ivy recipients and then voted on by R&I readers.

“We are thrilled to be named a winner of this highly regarded restaurant industry award,” said Philip M. Wentworth, president of Presbyterian Hospital of Plano. “Few hospitals enjoy the privilege of belonging to such an elite group – although I can’t say I’m that surprised, as I have the good fortune of sampling the food here almost every day.”

Presbyterian Hospital of Plano (PHP) is one of six national award winners this year and the only honoree in the Southwest. Other winners include Alinea in Chicago, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare in Las Vegas, Hotel Healdsburg in California, Per Se in New York City and the University of Massachusetts campus dining department.

PHP’s Five Star Dining program – which serves more than 2,000 meals daily – encompasses:

  • The Atrium Café, open to employees and visitors
  • Two physician dining rooms
  • Service to the hospital’s on-site childcare center
  • The Seay Behavioral Health Center
  • Catering for all PHP events

Also, and at the top of the list, the Five Star program provides the hospital’s hotel-like room service for patients. For each of these venues, PHP offers a separate and distinct menu, which changes regularly.

“We’ve brought the hospitality business to the hospital,” said Mary Spicer, director of PHP’s food, nutrition, conference and telecommunications services. “Everything we serve is made fresh daily and from scratch. We don’t use any prepared food or ingredients for our patients. And, we recruit and hire supervisors, cooks and wait staff with restaurant experience – individuals who are accustomed to working under pressure and time constraints, and understand ‘the look’ and presentation we have successfully developed and implemented.”

PHP’s room service program, established in 2003, offers a full menu of about 40 items, currently including such mouthwatering entrees as pomegranate barbecue chicken with Southwest couscous and jicama relish, pumpkin polenta and tofu Napolean topped with mushroom ragout, shrimp enchiladas with salsa verde, homemade three-cheese lasagna wrap and grilled beef tenderloin with Burgundy mushroom sauce.

It also includes made-to-order selections from a pasta bar, build-your-own sandwich combinations, a wide variety of salads, and numerous breakfast and dessert choices. All items listed inside the room-service menu follow the nutritional guidelines of the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society. The back cover of the menu features such Texas favorites as chicken-fried steak, hamburgers, pizzas, macaroni and cheese, and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Patients may order by phone anytime during the day and receive their prepared-to-order meal within 45 minutes. Chefs do not start cooking until after orders are placed and checked to ensure no conflict any patient dietary restrictions. Waiters, called “ambassadors,” whisk finished meals served on custom-garnished chinaware to patient rooms on individually prepared trays.

Chef Manager Gary Vorstenbosch is responsible for PHP’s huge, custom-designed 16,000-square foot kitchen and its 70-member team. He received culinary training in Europe and has worked at such upscale Dallas restaurants as Star Canyon and the Green Room before joining PHP five years ago.

Vorstenbosch takes pride in continually creating and testing new items before adding them to the hospital’s menus, as well as conceiving daily specials for its Atrium Café.

“I am honored to have helped contribute to PHP receiving this prestigious award,” said Vorstenbosch. “The Ivy Award represents an outstanding acknowledgement of our staff and its dedication to providing the highest level of guest service.”

As for her reaction to the Ivy Award, Spicer says she “loves that PHP is receiving this recognition,” particularly on the heels of the hospital’s recent Magnet designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center for excellence in nursing.

“This is another validation to the fact that Presbyterian Hospital of Plano is an exceptional place, in all regards,” said Spicer, winner of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association’s esteemed Silver Plate award, recognizing the most outstanding and innovative talents in the food service industry. “I’m humbled to have received this recognition from our peers in the industry.”

PHP will be profiled in the Restaurants & Institutions May issue and inducted into the Ivy Society at an upcoming gala in Chicago.

About Presbyterian Hospital of Plano
Established in 1991, PHP is a member of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources. PHP is a recognized clinical program leader, providing technologically advanced care to patients. Key services offered include orthopedics, cardiovascular, oncology, pediatrics and women’s services. The 370-bed facility has more than 1,600 employees and a medical staff of 1,200 physicians. For more information about PHP, visit

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR’s system of 13 hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System, and a medical research organization. THR is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit

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