Cricket Azima is a dynamic professional chef who specializes in cooking for and with children. Cricket works with a variety of food companies, offering a range of services, including spokesperson work, recipe development and testing, freelance writing, teaching, family outreach, blogging (as part of the Cooking Light Blogger’s Connection), creating webisodes, special events, and innovation consulting. She has worked with Whole Foods Market, Foodnetwork.com, Organic Valley, Happy Family, and General Mills, to name a few. Cricket’s children’s cookbook, Everybody Eats Lunch, was published by Glitterati Inc., in May, 2008. In 2014, Cricket’s classroom cooking curricula, Everybody Can Cook, was published by DRL Books. In 2016, Cricket coauthored The Happy Family Organic Superfoods Cookbook for Baby & Toddler.
Cricket’s latest venture is Cricket’s Candy Creations, a multi-sensory experience where creators of all ages can craft edible candy art while immersed in candy-themed activities designed to be a unique outlet for exploration, visualization, creativity and fun. The flagship for Cricket’s Candy Creations is a 13,000 square foot location at 200 Hudson Street in New York City. Cricket’s Candy Creations invites families and food lovers to step out of their routines and into an unforgettable hands-on crafting experience where they can let their imaginations go wild and create wacky edible art out of candy. More information can be found at cricketscandy.com. Cricket’s Candy Creations has plans to expand into additional cities, as well as grow a candy crafting product line and digital content.
Since 1999, Cricket has been teaching cooking classes to children of all ages at various locations in New York City. Cricket wrote her master’s thesis on the benefits of teaching cooking to children, which led her to launch The Creative Kitchen in 2003 (www.thecreativekitchen.com). The Creative Kitchen hosts hands-on children cooking classes and events at venues such as schools, Whole Foods Market, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Macy’s. In addition, the company produces family food events for corporate functions, movie premiers, and other such large-scale activations.
Cricket is a one of a kind instructor. She strives to teach more than just a recipe or basic cooking technique, with a teaching philosophy that is based on the educational benefits of cooking. Cricket believes that cooking is a multi-faceted learning opportunity. Her method of food education is designed to inspire children to learn and express themselves creatively in the kitchen classroom, while reinforcing traditional learning disciplines. With this in mind, her classes incorporate a wide range of subjects: history, geography, math, reading, social studies, nutrition, science, foreign language, and art all find a place in her kitchen.
Drawing on these food education philosophies, Cricket developed Everybody Can Cook, a comprehensive children’s cooking curricula and teaching program. The book’s unique format provides turnkey lesson plans, featuring tips and tools to integrate traditional school subjects, and includes adaptations for various physical and developmental abilities, dietary needs, ages, and environments.
In 2012, Cricket founded the Kids Food Festival (www.kidsfoodfestival.com), a celebration to educate families on how to make balanced food choices. The annual weekend of events serves as an effort to prevent childhood obesity through fun programming and entertainment. The NYC event hosts about 40,000 attendees, and the Los Angeles weekend of events hosts approximately 6,000. The Kids Food Festival partners with the James Beard Foundation, the American Heart Association, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation. In 2017, the Kids Food Festival partnered with the Association of Children’s Museums to produce the Kids Food Festival To-Go, a series of mini 1-day Kids Food Festivals hosted in children’s museums across the country.
Cricket acted as a contributor to iVillage, an online content-driven community for women. Cricket advised as the Family and Children’s Editor for The Nibble, an online magazine about specialty foods. She served as the Food Editor of KIWI Magazine, a family magazine focused on healthy and organic living, and was also the Director of Kids’ Programs for Kidfresh, an innovative company in New York City offering all natural, freshly prepared foods for kids.
Cricket is a graduate of Boston University (BA in Communications), New York University (MA in Food Studies & Food Management), and Peter Kump’s New York Culinary School (now, The Institute of Culinary Education; professional culinary degree). Following graduation, she served as a professor of food studies and an academic advisor at NYU. Cricket is a member of the Board of the American Heart Association Go Red for Women Committee, the NYC Autism Charter School and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan Food & Nutrition Advisory Board.
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