First, let everyone know it is a cooking party in the invitations. If it's for kids have a fun invitation like a colorful spatula or chef wearing a top hat. Have it say something like, "It's Cooking Time! Join Jenna and Friends for a Spectacular Night of Food! Then include the date, the time and how to get to your house.
If it's for teenagers give the invitation more of a Martha Stewart feel. Maybe do it on a restaurant check tab style invitation or make it look like a fancy menu. You could even include what the menu will really be!
For the actual cooking birthday party, the guests arrive and find a menu awaiting them. This menu can list pizza, chocolate chip cookies, and smoothies. (Change it up to whatever you want, but I've found these dishes to work well).
Each guest receives an apron with their name painted on it, which will be theirs to take home at the end of the evening. Everyone enters the kitchen or dining room and is split into groups.
Each group begins at one station and rotates when they are done so that everyone can make everything. The stations are a pizza station, a cookie station and a smoothie station.
At the pizza station each guest gets a Boboli pizza crust, and there is tomato sauce, cheese, and various toppings on the table. Each kid makes a personal pizza of their choice, which is fun and tasty.
Once they get put in the oven, the groups switch and begin making cookies, from the Nestle Tollhouse recipe. Of course they mix everything by hand because it’s more fun!
All of the ingredients and measuring cups and spoons should be out and ready, and there should be an adult supervising, but kids at this age can make all of this by themselves.
The last stop on the chef birthday party is the smoothie station. The smoothies are really fun for kids, because it is a tasty drink that is also healthier than soda.
Defrost fruit mixes before the party. Have the kids mix their own fruit in with yogurt and milk. If they want to do it altogether, you can mix one type of fruit in a large mixing bowl. Spoon it out with a ladle.
When the pizza is done, the group can sit down at a decorated table and begin to eat. When the cookies are done you can sing happy birthday!
You can also turn this theme into a Top Chef birthday party or an Iron Chef birthday party really easily. Just have a panel of judges and make up a centerpiece sign out of poster board and put it in the kitchen. Have the sign say something like Iron Chef Competition Tonight, etc.
Fun party favors for a cooking birthday party are the aprons like I already mentioned, and also little cookie cutters, utensils, or a fun kitchen timer.
Decorating is easy. You can make your dining room look like a restaurant by having menus on the dining table, along with salt and pepper shakers, a candle and a flower vase.