Cena is cooking up a good time and making birthday experiences memorable.

It comes just once a year, but this time skip the usual store-bought sheet cake and delivery pizza party and consider a hands-on birthday experience at Cena (pronounced say-na) in Downtown Lafayette. This newly relocated business is offering pizza making and cupcake decorating classes for children.

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 Photos by Kari Walker

Party guests have the opportunity to prepare their own personal pizza, assisting in crafting the dough, cooking the homemade sauce and then topping pizzas to bake. While pies are in the oven, guests switch to a sweeter side with cupcake decorating. Co-owner Karen Hail provides a demonstration of ways to decorate the petite cakes, and kids follow suit with icing and candy toppings galore. The party comes to an end after the homemade treats disappear and the ritualistic birthday song has been sung.

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Cena also crafts custom parties for any age. A popular teen-style class has been a general cooking party where the birthday child picks something to learn how to cook with his or her guests. Karen goes beyond just cooking, saying she gets kids to try new foods they might not otherwise eat: “I can get them to taste just about anything, and I have parents that say, ‘I can’t believe you got them to eat that!’”

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And for mom, Cena has a beautiful courtyard that can serve as a place to gather while children are busy in the kitchen. On a recent Saturday, birthday girl mom Melanie Nassar caught up with friends over appetizers from Cena, while daughter Maggie enjoyed cooking with friends.

Guests leave this party with more than a sugar high and swag bag; they learn cooking can be fun and there is a place for them alongside mom or dad in the kitchen.

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For more information on how Cena can help you plan a stress-free party tailored to you child’s culinary interests, or for additional educational offerings, contact Karen Hail at (337) 706-7568. Cena is located at 406 Garfield St.

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