Who doesn’t love to play with their food?  For your little Top Chef in the making a birthday party where they do the cooking (and eating!) is just the ticket.  And you will celebrate the fact that it’s a party in one fell swoop (and no prep or clean up for you!).  You’ve got a theme, an activity and a snack all rolled into a cool couple of hours, pulling double-duty as unforgettable memories.  Some savory, some sweet, here are our five favorite spots for a make-it-and-eat-it birthday party.

cakemix_goodiesDuff’s Cakemix
Pastry chef Duff Goldman’s fantasy decorating studio provides the perfect palette for bitty bakers to design to their heart’s content.  Reserve ahead for edible art projects: Cakemix’s customized party packages include decorating kits with choice of house-baked cakes or cupcakes, candy toppings from the goodie bar, colorful frostings, fondant, all decorating tools plus use of their artsy airbrush and an ‘expert decorator’ to help. Tummy-pleasing cake flavors range from red velvet to lemon poppy seed to marble, with gluten-free and vegan options available; all-inclusive packages vary from $48-80 per person.  Balloons, kid-friendly beverages and a keepsake apron for the guest of honor round out the fun; there’s even an evite link to get the party started.

Phone: 323-650-5555
Online: duffscakemix.com

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Piccolo Chef
Kiddos can star in their own cooking show, filmed in a real Hollywood studio!  This Totally Awesome Award-winning cooking academy creates mini mock-reality TV experiences, complete with makeup, green room and a full crew.  Focus on a fave dish with ‘It’s My Cooking’ or stir up a little friendly competition with ‘Mystery Basket’ or ‘Cakethon.’  Keep it real by broadcasting your party live over the Internet for faraway friends and family, or record on DVD.  Contact Piccolo Chef for package prices and dates available.  (Insider’s note: they also host old-school parties sans video, spotlighting a dish of your choice, be it spring rolls or scrambled eggs.)

Phone: 310-295-4208
Online: piccolochef.com


Pitfire Pizza
Real live play dough is center stage at a Pitfire pizza making party.  Pint-sized pie artisans each shape a ball of dough, season and add toppings of their choice then watch their creations bake to perfection.  20 bucks includes pizza, lemonade or soda for each pizzamaker, with healthy salads a la carte.  B.Y.O. balloons and cake or add on housemade cookies and/or organic soft serve as a sweet treat.  And the best part, you can take a load off while the kiddies create. Grownups get their own booth where they can sip a microbrew or glass of vino (or a cocktail at their Fairfax locale).  Check individual locations for open times, and it’s best to reserve a couple of weeks in advance.  (Insider’s note:  Plan ahead for an extended celebration on Mar Vista’s chill patio or linger at Costa Mesa’s Pie Society speakeasy.  Also watch for Pitfire Pasadena opening this spring!)

Phone: 310-598-2070
Online: pitfirepizza.com

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Sushi Girl
Roll with it! Almost anything can go on-or-in the tangy, sticky rice we know as sushi. A former elementary school teacher, Sushi Girl comes to your location of choice – a park, backyard, kitchen or dining table – with all the fixings for nigiri and hand rolls.  Kiddos learn to make 2 types of sushi rolls with veggies and fish; any knife work is done by the chef herself.  A minimum of 10 participants is required with no maximum; grownups can get in on the sushi-making or simply watch and eat.  Parties range from $25-$50 per person depending upon the number of rolls and kinds of fish.

Phone: 310-880-4010
Online: thesushigirl.com


Imagination is the only limitation for wee Willy Wonkas to create their own confections at this Hollywood emporium.  Crafty kids pick from over 2 dozen scrumptious ingredients to customize their very own chocolate bar, built before their eyes in the Chocolate Lab:  ever try spicy hot Fritos or gummy bears encased in milk, dark or white chocolate?  While the melting concoctions are molding, partygoers get mini tins to fill from the Sweet! array of candy bins.  Don’t worry about pizza, beverages, or bakery cake (prepared by Eddie’s Edibles), it’s all taken care of, plus they’ll be wildly engaged in specially-designed games courtesy of Sweet’s in-house event planner.  Reserve at least 2 weeks ahead for any day after noon for a minimum of 10 kids, at about $60 each (step it up with add-ons: facepainting, characters, magicians or whatever you imagine that can fit in the space.).

Phone: 323-462-2072
Online: sweetlosangeles.com

Sushi, pizza, cake or candy – what would your little chef’s ideal birthday feast consist of? 

– Kim Orchen Cooper

Photos courtesy of the author, Piccolo Chef facebook page, hummingbirdheart via Creative Commons and Sweet! Hollywood’s facebook page.