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Food For Tots

Kids' catering, hide-and-keep, cushy cab rides.

Parents of small children want their kids to eat a tasty, nutritious lunch each day, but many day-care centers don't offer much more than graham crackers.

Calling itself "a catering service for busy parents," The Children's Chef was begun in 1996 by sisters Kathy Newberry and Martha Dolan, who discarded their plans to open a party catering company after finding the market for catering services in the Boston area was flooded.

They shifted their focus to catering to children in day-care centers, but first they decided to test the waters. "We contacted local day-care centers and told them that we were here and cooking," says Newberry, who set up sample tables at day-care centers so parents and day-care providers could taste the food for themselves.

Soon Dolan and Newberry were serving Animal Pasta Salad and Pinwheel Sandwiches for 700 children at 12 day-care centers. Now they work with federally funded Head Start day-care centers, providing daily breakfasts, snacks and lunches to 250 children. Word of their wholesome meals and consistently good service has gotten around; in the past year, their sales have reached more than $300,000.

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