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Have your child cook their own birthday dinner!

Local venues let kids get food creative

Mother of three Tori Labrenz of Montgomery says her 8-year-old son Lucas decided to host his birthday at Young Chefs Academy because he enjoyed taking cooking lessons there.


“I literally didn’t have to do anything. I just showed up. I was able to enjoy it with the kids and didn’t have to worry about anything,” says Labrenz.

“Sit back and just bring a camera,” advises Joe Alfiere, owner of Young Chefs Academy in Cornwall. “We will take care of it all.”

Students ages 4-14 make individual pizzas from scratch, create calzones or make fresh pasta. Fruit punch, lemonade and paper products are provided, so parents just have to bring their own cake and gift bags (although an all-inclusive package includes add cupcake decorating and gift bags). Kids can also get creative and have a hands-on learning experience outside of the kitchen. So You…Sewing & Design University in Sparkill offers private parties, on-site or off, where children learn the basics of sewing and design, followed by refreshments supplied by the parents.

Ages 5 and up get to create take-home projects from bulletin boards for the younger set, to jewelry beading to recrafting old jeans into handbags, skirts, book covers or slippers. After redesigning their garment party goers can further individualize their creation by drawing, coloring or painting on it. “I buy the jeans from a consignment shop and that money goes to a domestic violence shelter,” explains owner and director Vivian Burns, “so part of the money from the party goes to another good cause.”

Burns believes the parties are a success because, “It’s something different. They actually walk away with something that they made.”

But remember, because party venues offer convenience, they do fill up fast. Most facilities suggest booking at least two months in advance, especially for a Saturday.


Laura Graziano has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Marist College and is currently a stay at home mom living in Orange County.

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