Ameristar Casino Hotel

Ameristar Casino Hotel Iowa is the sixth 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 7 different restaurants to visit. These restaurants are all across Iowa. 

Ameristar Casino Hotel

Ameristar Casino Hotel is located in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The casino is modeled after the classic riverboats that traveled the waters of the Missouri River in the 1800s. It is a 38,500 square feet of nonstop gaming and dining center for both Council Bluffs and Omaha residents as well as visitors from all across the midwest.


photo via

photo via


photo via

photo via



The Chef at Ameristar Casino Hotel

Bourbon's BBQ & Steaks cook line

Bourbon’s BBQ & Steaks cook line

Chef Andreas Hartmann is the man running the kitchen and delivering high-class food to his visitors. 

Since this contest is about the chef and their skills, I wanted focus on them a little more by asking some questions. Here are 6 questions with Chef Phillip

  1. How Many Years Have You Been A Chef?
    I can’t remember, time fly’s when you are having fun….30 some years.
  2. Where did you learn to become a chef?
    I am still learning every day but I did my chef apprenticeship in Austria/Europe.
  3. Do you have a chef that you look up to?
    Paul Bocuse because he mentored many other great chefs
  4. The best thing about being a chef is __________.
    the many different cuisines and food cultures you can learn.
  5. What’s your favorite thing to cook outside of “the office”?
    Anything sweet, desserts, cakes …love to bake and make Christmas cookies

  6. What or who inspired you to become a chef?
    My mother….all of her cooking included only home grown produce, homemade butter, cream, cheeses, sausages, preserves, breads, etc. We had our own small farm and made everything from scratch.


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 Andreas created a wonderful 4 course meal along with wine pairings for the evening. 

For the first course, Chef Andreas served a Maryland crab cake with a poached farm egg. I thought I had a crab cake before, but this one will be tough to forget. It was lightly packed and the egg was such a great idea. The puree too was quite wonderful. It set us up for a nice evening. 

course 1


The second course was a kale and white bean salad with a lemon vinaigrette. 


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The third course was featured the top sirloin cut and use of tofu. The sirloin steak was seared and marinated in a bordelaise sauce. 



Andreas incorporated the tofu into a wonderful mac and cheese. The macaroni was actually homemade spätzle. Oh my goodness, that was wonderful. There was also Maine lobster, tofu, goat cheese and sauteed chanterelles. It was quite delicious. You can see in the photo below a closer look at the mac.




To finish the night off, we were presented a pecan and butternut squash cheesecake with caramel sauce and cacao nips. I can’t wait to see this done at other restaurants because this featured such wonderful flavors and the butternut squash tasted fantastic.


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

Contact Ameristar Casino Hotel – Council Bluffs

2200 River Rd, Council Bluffs, IA

Phone: (712) 328-8888

I’m so excited for the final event – the Grand Tasting Gala. It’s your turn to enjoy the meals I have been able to write about. Get your tickets today.

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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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