New York mom and teacher Cricket Azima has made it her mission to nourish the minds and bodies of future foodies.

Cricket Azima has been pulling a duffle bag on wheels stuffed with pots and pans around New York City since 1999. As founder and designated “big cheese” of The Creative Kitchen, she teaches cooking classes for kids at schools, Whole Foods Markets, museums, camps and private venues.

She launched The Creative Kitchen in 2003 and, currently, teaches up to 20 pop-up classes around the city each week. “All the healthful recipes are fruit- and vegetable-based, and, as kids become comfortable with these foods, they readily include them in their diet,” she says. Young cooks share the joy of cutting, tasting and eating what they make.

Holly, a 5-year-old student expresses what hundreds of happy twos-to-teens experience. “I love cooking with Cricket! I get to measure, mix and eat all of the food! I even got to decorate my own chef ’s hat that I get to keep.”

Azima’s teaching philosophy incorporates an interdisciplinary approach. “I want to inspire children to learn and express themselves creatively in the kitchen, while improving listening and reading skills.” She even incorporates geography and history, foreign language and nutrition.

<img src="" alt="Everybody Eats Lunch" class="alignright size-thumbnail wp-image-138948" height="150" width="130" />Her around-the-world cookbook, <em>Everybody Eats Lunch</em> (Glitterati Inc., 2008), encourages children to appreciate and learn about world cultures through lunch, featuring a different country on each page. As a mom, cook and teacher, Cricket Azima enhances the food choices and the health of thousands of future foodies.<em>

<em>—Story by Irvina Lew, a food writer in Bay Shore, N.Y. </em>
<em>   Recipe courtesy of The Creative Kitchen</em>
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