If you’re raising a little Portland foodie and you’re looking for the perfect way to celebrate her birthday while encouraging her culinary curiosity, a food-themed bash is the special of the day! The birthday boy or girl gets to choose the menu and the foods they’d like to prepare with pals, and then revelers may enjoy the fruits of their labor by digging in to the self-prepared feast. The following are several local options for cooking and food-themed birthday parties that cater to kids — all of which are sure to serve up hearty helpings of flavor and fun!

The Merry Kitchen

The Merry Kitchen’s Julie Merry is a registered dietitian with a degree in nutrition. She offers a wide array of birthday party cooking themes including a Pirate Party, Fairy Foods, and Comfort Foods, or any theme your child can dream up! Food preparation is very hands-on, teaching and engaging even very young participants about the fun to be had breaking eggs or peeling potatoes. Julie will also help children prepare all organic foods or foods for special diets.

The Merry Kitchen
5202 NE 72nd Avenue
Portland, Or
503-946-8357
Online: themerrykitchen.com

Southwest Community Center

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Southwest Community Center throws fun themed birthday parties featuring edible crafts that partygoers make and eat during the bash. During a Luau/Hawaiian themed party, kids make a “Beach in a Cup,” comprised of a layer of vanilla wafers for sand, blue jello for ocean water, and swedish fish candy. Other sweet offerings kids can create include a frog cupcake during the jungle themed party and butterfly cupcakes to celebrate a Tinkerbell extravaganza. Mini-pizza faces and sugar cookies with sprinkles round out the edible crafts menu.

Southwest Community Center
6820 SW 45th Avenue
Portland, Or
503-823-2840
Online: southwestcommunitycenter.com

In Good Taste

Older kids will enjoy learning the finer details of food prep during the cooking parties at In Good Taste. Making homemade angel hair pasta from scratch, crafting tomato sauce and preparing and indulging in a sophisticated dessert of poached pears is one example of a gourmet style party for kids. Simpler, just as delectable options include a menu of pizza, Caesar salad and strawberry shortcake. Children cook the entire meal with guidance, and focuses include knife safety, sanitation, nutrition and clean-up. Local, sustainable ingredients are incorporated into the mini-feasts whenever possible.

In Good Taste
231 NW 11th Avenue
Portland, Or
503-248-2015
Online: ingoodtastestore.com

The Kids Cooking Corner

The Kids Cooking Corner offers a delectable menu for the guest of honor to whip-up with friends. Heidi O’Connor, mother of three, will host a shindig that includes options such as making homemade pizzas, cupcake decorating, or stuffing mini tacos. Kids will also create placecards and learn how to set the table. Heidi is also open to planning a themed party specifically based on your child’s interests.

The Kids Cooking Corner
5206 NE 78th Street
Vancouver, Wa
360-433-9114
Online: thekidscookingcorner.com

Fancy That

When it comes to themed birthday parties, Fancy That takes the cake with their fabulous kids birthday packages. They provide all of the supplies, crafts, treats, party favors and clean-up at their Bliss Bake Shop location, so all you need to do is show up with your guests. You can even request a custom party theme for your little one’s party. Best of all, your freshly baked treats are made in-house at the bakery, so they’re piping hot when they land on your party table.

Fancy That
4708 NW Bethany Boulevard
Portland, Or
503-799-5329
Online: shop-fancythat.com

—Beth Shea

Photo Cedit: Dan Stefani via Flickr