Steak salad makes a return to Willows menu – and scores big in March Madness contest

This fan-favourite recipe, which combines many sweet and savoury flavours, was one of the Top 4 finalists

A steak salad packed with a variety of flavours and textures was so popular with Willows Estate residents when first introduced several months ago, Jeffrey Peters, the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home’s nutritional care manager, decided to put it back on the menu.

But this steak salad’s story isn’t over.

The meal was such a big hit with everyone at the Willows that Jeffrey decided to enter the recipe in OMNI Health Care’s first annual March Madness recipe challenge. It finished among the Top 4 finalists.

Jeffrey describes this dish as “a very beautiful and vibrant salad with an Asian influence, full of colour and texture.”

The salad includes slices of New York strip loin steak served on a bed of organic greens along with a composite of onions, strawberries, cucumber, cranberries, cherry tomatoes, carrots and toasted almonds.

This melange of flavours and textures is topped with a slice of toasted garlic baguette. The salad is served with an Asian-style dressing and a slice of chilled peach as a garnish.

“Everything was hand-cut and carefully put together for a tasteful experience: New York steak marinated to perfection and a fresh summer salad packed with healthy ingredients and vibrant colour,” Jeffrey says.

Chris Weber, OMNI’s operations manager of nutrition and food service, says the March Madness contest, which saw 16 recipes compete in a bracket contest where votes were cast each week between April 14 and May 6, was close.

The winning entry was a Mediterranean omelette, created by Josephine Goddard at Country Terrace, which won “by a very thin margin,” Chris says.

OMNI launched the first annual March Madness recipe challenge in March in recognition of Nutrition Month in Canada.

Chris came up with the idea to encourage nutritional care managers and cooks to showcase their most-loved recipes and to highlight the high-quality meals served in OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes.

Throughout March, nutritional care managers and cooks prepared their favourite meals, plated them and took photos that were sent to head office. The photos were accompanied by the name of each meal and its recipe.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)