Had a cooking party last night for my daughter's 11th birthday! It was super successful! Thanks everyone for your hints and ideas! We had a red/white checked tablecloth, fresh flowers and a sign: "Welcome to Madi's Cafe".
Here is what we did:
The kids decorated their aprons (from Michaels) and chef hats (from party store) with fabric markers (so we don't have to wait for paint to dry).
All the kids signed the back of the b-day girl's apron. They put flour on each others faces for the picture. Then they put on a platter: cut up 1 green pepper & 1 onion (demonstrated how to cut both), can of black olives, mushrooms and pepperoni (precut), ham, cut up 2 cans of sliced pineapple, and bacon.
Then they prepared the dough (from trader joes). Put corn meal on one side and added the sauce, toppings and cheese to the other side. They also made a salad.
While it was baking the kids played 2 games: A spaghetti relay race take cooked spaghetti from 1 bowl with chopsticks and walk to the other side to place in a bowl).
They also had a contest who could properly set the table for dinner (plate, fork, knife, spoon, napkin) - moving off the items that were not set properly.
After dinner, the kids decorated premade cupcakes with m&m's, reese's pieces, kisses, marshmallows, lifesavers, sprinkles, etc.