The first time Chris Brugler ever made challah, it was for Shabbat dinner at the private home where he had just been hired as a personal chef. The Beverly Hills family assumed that everyone knew how to make challah. Brugler, a blue-eyed Catholic boy from Pennsylvania who had discovered his vocation cooking in a home for retired nuns, did not. He went to the Internet and found pictures of the 8-foot-long loaves popular for big bar mitzvah celebrations. He tried to convince his employer to order bakery challah, just for the first dinner, but the boss insisted it was not Shabbat without a fresh-baked loaf. So Brugler called his mom, who called a Jewish friend, who passed on a family recipe, and the chef went to work making the recipe his own.
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