Dissecting the Dish: Berry Delicious Salad

Chef Melinda Burrows, CEC, CCA, celebrates Mother’s Day with a healthy salad that is created with care.

By Liz Barrett Foster

Mother’s Day is the one day to make mothers everywhere feel special. It’s a day reserved for showering Mom with flowers, balloons, heartfelt cards and more. Mother’s Day is the reason why a simple salad can become a meticulously prepared, Berry Delicious Salad.

A mother to four boys who all know their way around a kitchen, Chef Melinda Burrows, CEC, CCA, executive chef at Hickory Hills Country Club in Springfield, Missouri, says that her youngest even makes homemade mayonnaise for the family. “I think they’ve appreciated growing up with a mother who’s a chef,” she says. “We tend to eat healthy food at home, and we need to be able to pronounce the ingredients on the package.”

Originally from Seattle, Chef Burrows received her culinary education in Paris, before working as a private chef for countless celebrities in Los Angeles. She’s traveled the world, creating once-in-a-lifetime culinary memories and continuing to educate herself along the way. Chef Burrows says that her never-ending drive comes from the fact that her profession is also her hobby. “I have a true passion for the craft of cooking,” she says. Now living in Missouri, with her sons and husband, actor Darren Burrows, she’s thankful for the creative freedom, appreciation and encouragement that her position at Hickory Hills Country Club affords her.

As is the case with most restaurants and dining rooms around the country, Mother’s Day will look different at Hickory Hills Country Club this year. The club typically serves a big Mother’s Day buffet, according to Chef Burrows. Last year, due to Covid, the Mother’s Day menu was offered to-go only, with meals packaged for families of four or eight. “This year, we’re offering a plated seating, two times in the morning,” she says. “One seating will be at 10:30 a.m. and the other at 12:30 p.m.”

The club plans to offer a Mother’s Day menu that’s fresh, elegant, healthy, and morning appropriate. The menu, created by Burrows, will begin with her Berry Delicious Salad. The main course will be smoked salmon benedict with sliced beef tenderloin, duchess potatoes, and baby vegetables. And the meal will finish with a small duo dessert, combining a mini French silk pie and a mini lemon meringue tart.

“The Berry Delicious Salad is like a ‘welcome to spring’ salad,” says Chef Burrows. “It’s a very pretty and thoughtful salad.” The use of tarragon vinegar in the dressing adds another layer of flavors, and highlights the raspberries and shallots.

Additionally, by coating the salad leaves and berries individually, rather than applying a drizzle of dressing, Chef Burrows says that diners get the right amount of dressing in every bite. “It may seem tedious or an extra detail, but it really does make a difference in the taste and appearance of the salad,” she says.

If you don’t have all of the listed ingredients on hand, Chef Burrows says that the salad is very versatile, noting that it can be turned into an entrée size, adding grilled chicken, shrimp or an alternative meat. “You can change the pecans to walnuts and even sub out the raspberry vinaigrette for poppyseed vinaigrette,” she says. “You can try a different type of lettuce or cheese, or even grill your romaine.”

Regardless of which ingredients you decide to include in your light and delicious salad this Mother’s Day, prepare it with care and love for the mothers who will enjoy it. Read more about Chef Burrows in the ACF Chef Profile article published in the July-August 2020 issue of National Culinary Review.

Berry Delicious Salad

Recipe and photo courtesy of Chef Melinda Burrows, CEC, CCA

Berry Delicious Salad by Melinda Burrows

Yield: 1 serving (6 ounces dressing)

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 2 ounces tarragon vinegar
  • 2 ounces fresh raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • .05 ounce granulated cane sugar
  • .20 ounce peeled shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounce sunflower oil (such as Colorado Mills brand)

For the Salad:

  • .40 ounce fresh spinach leaves, stem ends removed
  • 1 ounce romaine hearts
  • 1 each fresh strawberry, ends trimmed, sliced into 7 rings
  • 7 each fresh blueberries
  • 5 each fresh raspberries
  • 3 each fresh blackberries
  • .05 ounce candied pecans
  • .05 ounce goat cheese


  1. Combine tarragon vinegar and fresh raspberries in a small bowl. Crush raspberries using fork tines. Strain mixture into another small bowl through a small sieve. Add mustard, sugar, shallot, salt and pepper. Whisk until sugar and salt are dissolved. Slowly drizzle in sunflower oil, continuing to whisk vigorously, to emulsify.
  2. Dip spinach leaves and romaine hearts into one ounce of raspberry vinaigrette. Place dressed greens on a vessel of your choice. Gently toss the berries, one at a time, in the remaining dressing. Place dressed berries onto dressed greens. Sprinkle with the candied pecans. Finish salad with the goat cheese.
Allergy warning: Allium and dairy