You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

First Person

Chicken potpies: Brisk business in Salem and beyond

Believing few of us have time to make weekday dinners, chef Ken Rothwell is expanding his Ken’s Kickin’ Chicken business to Peabody.

Ken Rothwell owner of Ken's Kickin Chicken with his chicken pot pies in Salem.

Bill Greene for the boston globe

Ken Rothwell owner of Ken's Kickin Chicken with his chicken pot pies in Salem.

The days of the ’60s, when mom stays home and cooks all day? Those days are gone. EVERYBODY’S SO BUSY THESE DAYS. My son gets home after football practice at 7 p.m., then has three hours of homework. You have to fit dinner in. It’s a “grab and go” era. Most people are getting home around 6 p.m. If you make dinner yourself, you’re eating it at, what, 8 p.m.? People want quality food that they can microwave in three minutes.

I love to cook. IT’S MY PASSION. I quit high school my junior year and took up cooking as a trade. I had my own restaurant in Salem for 10 years. I got burned out and sold it, then I said I’ll find a little place to do my catering. We slow down January through March. Four years ago, I thought if I could MAKE 30 CHICKEN POTPIES A DAY, I could keep the staff working [year-round]. We have 35 employees and are opening a second, larger 1,200-square-foot STORE IN PEABODY BY MARCH. We’ll have hot chicken potpies to go, to make it even easier for customers.

Continue reading below

I don’t cook at home. I heat up whatever we’ve cooked that day. My wife works. WE ALL SIT DOWN TOGETHER. Otherwise, there’s no family time.

I’m a cancer patient at Dana-Farber. I do chemo every day at home. I still work every day, 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., plus have the catering. I’m a believer that, because I keep moving, I feel stronger.

I don’t think this [“grab and go”] trend is going to go away. HARROWS HAS BEEN DOING THIS SINCE THE 1930S. Now there’s young guys like me.  — As told to Kathy Shiels Tully

Interview has been edited and condensed.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.