Prairie Links Golf & Event Center (Waverly, IA)

Prairie Links Golf & Event Center in Waverly, Iowa is the fourth location that I’m judging food at for the 2015 Dine Iowa Grand Tasting Gala event.

This is my second year of judging for this event.

Chef Robert Anderson and I are the main judges. It is a privilege to get to work with him, the IRA staff, and members from both the Soy and BeefCouncils.

During the next couple of weeks, leading up to the September 24th event, we have 8 different restaurants to visit. These restaurants are all across Iowa. 

Prairie Links Golf & Event Center

Prairie Links Golf is located in Waverly, Iowa. It’s an 18 hole golf course that is built “links” British style. So after a hard-fought round, you will most likely need a great meal from Chef Phillip at the clubhouse. 


Prairie Links Golf & Event Center (Waverly, IA) Club House


Prairie Links Putting Green


View from the club house

The Chef at Prairie Links Golf & Event Center

photo via

photo via

Chef Phillip Winkler has the reigns at Prairie Links. Watch out because he’s turning this into a great northeast Iowa restaurant. 

Since this contest is about the chef and their skills, I wanted focus on them a little more by asking some questions. Here are 7 questions with Chef Phillip

  1. How Many Years Have You Been A Chef?
    I have been cooking for the last 29 years, and became a Chef about 10 years ago.
  2. Where did you learn to become a chef?
    I actually did all on the job training. As soon as I left the Marine Corp I applied with the GCA (gypsy chef association in 92/93) and traveled the Mediterranean for about 21 months or so just cooking, anywhere the agency sent us. When I returned to the states I attended the Mon Cheri Culinary Academy, and the Florida Culinary Institute.
  3. Do you have a chef that you look up to?
    I would have to say Marco Pierre White, then Heinz Winkler, and Gordon Ramsay.
  4. The best thing about being a chef is __________.
    is the freedom to create, and every day is a new challenge. Being able to meet so many new people, and we CHEFS, do the one thing that unites us all no matter where we are from, our color of skin or beliefs….FOOD.
  5. The best playlist for cooking has to include (artist, song etc.)
    Eli’s Pork Chop LITTLE SONNY (Album was Black & Blue)

  6. What’s your favorite thing to cook outside of “the office”?
    Anything fresh grown from our Iowan FARMERS and BBQ, not the sloppy sauce style but that slow smoked kind of BBQ, that smells up the whole neighborhood, making everyone hungry! Pork, Beef, Quail, Pheasant, Duck, chicken, Rabbit, Buffalo, you name it I’ll BBQ it.

  7. What or who inspired you to become a chef?
    Taking raw ingredients and creating a dish, not just one dish, but many dishes. Being able to change the flavor of an ingredient by just grilling, or broiling, or frying and then getting a different flavor by baking. For example, take the an ingredient like, RABBIT. There are hundreds of accouterments to serve with a rabbit. The best part about Rabbit is that there are hundreds of more ways to prepare rabbit. This chef life is a never ending learning process that intrigues me more and more with every passing day.


The Meal

Rules: With this event, each competitor will prepare a main entrée recipe utilizing Braveheart Black Angus Beef Top Sirloin, donated byPerformance Food Group (at least six ounces of cooked beef must be used). Additionally, each competitor will prepare a Tofu (soft-silken or water packed) side dish or sauce (at least a 1⁄4 cup of tofu must be used).

Main Dish

Chef Phillip created a unique latin stir fry. There was a lot going on the plate which kept every bite exciting. Chef Phillip used the sirloin and marinated it pineapple juice as well as a teriyaki sauce. 

Chef Phillip Plate

In the photo below, you’ll see that there are noodles in the middle which are rice noodles instead of pasta noodles. They were a great choice because they were nice and chewy and not too heavy. I really enjoyed the use of heirloom carrots in the dish. The dark colors and bold flavors were a nice feature.

Chef Phillip used tofu in two unique ways. The first was in the sauce. Tofu was infused into a sauce with tomatillos, manchego cheese and several other ingredients. If you want to know more, you’ll have to visit the tasting gala. 😉

Tofu Popcorn 

The other use of tofu that I absolutely was a huge fan of was the tofu popcorn. If this was sold in bags, I would buy this like crazy so I will be trying to recreate it in my home kitchen. You must try this. It was crunchy and the flavor could be whatever you would like. Phillip decided on a lime salt to help round out the dish. 

Chef Phillip Plate



Chef Phillip displayed a wonderful plate. He should be proud of his presentation.

Contact Prairie Links Golf and Event Center

19 Eagle Ridge, Waverly, IA, 50677

Phone: (319) 483-1765

I’m so excited for the next couple of weeks and I am eager to see how creative the competing chefs can be!

2015 Grand Tasting Gala Website banner

About Nick Lucs

Nick is the founder of Des Moines Foodster. He was born and raised in Des Moines and has always had a passion for being creative in the kitchen. Des Moines Foodster has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Juice Magazine, amNY, Travel Iowa and the Greater Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau blog. He believes that coffee and craft beer make the world go 'round .

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