Next-door neighbors who like to cook recently decided that they might enjoy cooking for their neighbors.

Next-door neighbors who like to cook recently decided that they might enjoy cooking for their neighbors.

Ashley Cellio and Melinda Albertson, who have lived beside one another in Clintonville for the past three and a half years, have launched Dinners on the Dash, a small catering operation.

In fact, it's so small at this point that they're making dinners for individual families, and offering free delivery.

"We basically both kind of came up with the idea," said Cellio, who gave up a job in the financial industry to make Dinners on the Dash her full-time career.

"Ashley and I work well together," commented Albertson, a nurse practitioner who isn't ready just yet to give up her day job.

Their main focus is to provide healthy, freshly prepared meals, to any special or restricted diet requirements, from scratch Monday through Friday, according to Cellio.

"We offer free delivery and our prices are really reasonable right now since we're just starting out," she said.

The free delivery area encompasses Clintonville, Grandview, Upper Arlington and Worthington, according to the website created by Cellio's husband, Brad. Deliveries outside that area can be accommodated for $5 additional.

A recent menu offered such meals as macadamia nut tofu, gyro with Mediterranean salad and fajitas, with prices ranging from $15 to $30 for full orders, $12 to $20 for half orders.

The meals, while described as home-cooked, are actually prepared in a professional kitchen, to meet Columbus Public Health regulations, Cellio said.

The two women said they hope to put healthy food before families whose lives are too hectic to do it for themselves.

"People of our parents' generation were used to having dinner with the family," said Albertson, 31. "Today it's not home-cooked meals. It's just get something on the table as fast as possible.

"I think it's way more common now to bring home Chipotle instead of preparing home-cooked meals."

"This time is as good as any," offered Cellio, who will turn 30 later this month. "I feel like especially our generation or people around our age group haven't put as much focus on learning how to cook or learning how to cook for their families as their parents did."

The business partners have been friends ever since Albertson moved in next door to Cellio.

"We realized we just loved to cook," Cellio said. "We started to cook together and we found out we work really well in the kitchen.

"Many conversations later, we came up with the idea for Dinners on the Dash."

Dinners for vegetarians and vegans, as well as those with food allergies, pose no problems, the two said.

"My thing is definitely the vegetarian thing," Albertson said. "I've been a vegetarian for over 15 years now."

"I don't really have any dietary constraints," Cellio said.

But she does have definite culinary talents, her partner said, including for different types of ethnic dishes.

"Everyone always says do what you love and I love to cook," Cellio said. "That's where my passion is and that's where my inspiration comes from, is the kitchen."

"I think right now we like the feedback we've been getting and I think it's different from other caterers, just the down-home, home-cooked meals," Albertson said. "It's something that Ashley and I had come to expect.

"I think that people are impressed and surprised by the dinners we have to offer."

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