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December 25, 2016 8:04 am

Award-Winning Chef Who Learned Challah-Baking From Her Late Daughter Teaches Shoppers at Bloomingdale’s Art, Soul of Traditional Jewish Bread

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Interview
Chef Sara Briman at the Bloomingdales challah bake. Photo: Algemeiner.

Chef Sara Briman at the Bloomingdale’s challah bake. Photo: Algemeiner.

An award-winning chef who led a challah-baking demonstration at the upscale New York City department store Bloomingdale’s on Thursday evening, told The Algemeiner that the technique for creating the traditional braided Jewish bread and its deeper spiritual significance were not handed down to her from previous generations, but rather learned from her late daughter.

“I wish she could be here with me,” said Sara Briman — the 2013 recipient of the American Academy of Hospitality Science’s Five-Star Diamond International Challah award, and also an Algemeiner ‘Jewish 100′ awardee. “She was the one who taught me how to do it the right way and the meaning of each ingredient. Sharing this with others has become a mission in my life. I get so much strength by watching the audience and feeling their energy.”

Briman explained that the experience of making challah is “one that connects you with God and your loved ones. All this positive energy transforms a few simple ingredients into a beautiful and delicious challah — a food that nurses not only our body, but our soul as well.”

She said she uses each ingredient as “an inspiration to ask God for good things.” For example, when pouring the flour — its key component — she prays for the Torah and blessings to be central to her life.

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Briman, a native of Mexico who has been making the special bread for 20 years, said that Thursday’s event was her 49th demonstration in a three-and-a-half-year period. She said that she travels far and wide — across the US and in South America, Europe, Japan and Israel — in the effort to encourage Jews to keep the tradition alive.

“Challah is a product not only from my kitchen, but from my heart,” she said. “Whatever you do in life, do it with all your love and all your blessing, and it can’t go wrong.”

Representatives from the American Academy of Hospitality Services surprised Briman during the Bloomingdale’s event with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

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