The Challah Prince Braids His Way to Stardom

It started as a hobby but then it grew and grew until Idan Chabasov became the Challah Prince.

His more than 370,000 followers on Instagram not only follow him online but many attend his classes, where he mixes dough and braiding with meditation.

On Sunday, Chabasov taught classes at Temple Judea in Manhasset and Temple Beth El in Huntington, both drawing more than 150 people.

“I love to share it with everybody and encourage everybody to be in meditation and be creative,” Chabasov, 38, said.

Despite the origins of challah stemming from Chabasov’s home country of Israel, it was not until he moved to Berlin that he discovered his love for the craft. When he was working in a hummus restaurant at the age of 28, he felt more connected to his Israeli roots than ever, but something was

“It was a very Israeli place, but they had no challah, only pita,” Chabasov said. “The Germans are really great at bread, but they don’t know how to make challah.”

Chabasov then decided to make his own challah bread. Though the first couple of tries did not go as planned, he immediately fell in love with the process. He was able to connect baking with a previous love that
he had discovered years prior: meditation.

By meshing two activities that he cared for so dearly, Chabasov found modes of self- discovery, something that he wanted to share with others.

In early 2020, Chabasov made an Instagram account where he posted videos of his challah-making process. Unaware of proper techniques and sticking to a couple of simple designs, the purpose of the account was no more than allowing him to track his progress in the activity.

It was not long before his @challahprince Instagram account started to gain traction on the platform, something that Chabasov never could have predicted.

He began receiving comments from users that were fascinated by the art, exposing many people to the craft with his POV style of videos.

Though Chabasov was flattered by the recognition, he still did not envision that  the hobby would take him anywhere. That was until he began receiving messages on Instagram from groups of people that wanted a fuller experience than his sub-minute long videos and were willing to pay.

These people asked if Chabasov was able to teach them how to braid over Zoom. It began with a group of five people, then 10, then 20. But it was not until a certain offer that he realized that there was a possibility of doing this for a living.

“She wanted to have an event for 10 people. I offered her a very low price if she would bring more people, and she told me, ‘Oh, I can easily bring more people,’” Chabasov said.

One Facebook post later, Chabasov was teaching 60 people how to braid challah over Zoom. Wanting to give the crowd their money’s worth, he went out and bought a new camera, a tripod and other equipment that would improve the quality of his visuals.

Though he was starting to make money from the activity he just does for fun, Chabasov still was not convinced that he could turn his hobby into a career. There was a lot of competition, and he did not feel that his success was sustainable. His opinion wavered when local news outlets and newspapers began to reach out, helping him realize what it was that separated him from the

“People want to learn more than just braiding challah. People want to learn something deeper than just beautiful shapes, they want to learn about my way of doing that. How they can make it and do it in such a spiritual way like I do,” Chabasov said.

These Zoom lessons opened doors for bigger and better opportunities for Chabasov. After teaching remotely for over a year, he got an offer from a producer in New Jersey who wanted him to give a lesson in person. Though the opportunity to come to the United States was one that he did not want to pass up, complications with his visa forced the producer to drop out.

With both Chabasov and his agent frustrated about the situation, they questioned if figuring out the visa problems was worth it. He took to his Instagram account to gauge what the demand in America was like, not expecting much from the single post.

Chabasov was shocked by the results. Moe than 60 requests from different places across the United States flooded in quickly, enough to book an entire year of braiding lessons.

After multiple career paths including animation, dancing and video art, the Challah Prince finally found his true calling.

Kenneth Spurrell is a reporter with The SBU Media Group, part of Stony Brook
University’s School of Communication and Journalism’s Working Newsroom program for students and local media.-

photos from Idan Chabasov

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