Charly Araton

Motzi Challah
Jersey City, NJ
The pandemic has caused us all to seek out self care in a variety of ways. For some, it was baking different variations of banana bread or debating between chocolate chip and walnut as the add in. For others, it was setting up a home gym, attempting to become the ultimate eat/sleep/work/train machine. And then there's Charly Araton. For Charly, pandemic self-care manifested in escalating his side project into a full-on brand: Motzi Challah. And thank heavens for that. If you thought you already craved challah a normal amount, BUCKLE UP, because we aren't joking when we say we consumed 5 loaves for one single photoshoot.
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Full name, age where are you from?

Charly Araton, 27, Montclair, New Jersey

What was growing up like for you and did you have family meals growing up?

I'm fortunate to have been raised in Montclair, which provided me with a diverse group of friendships, surroundings, and now that you pose the question, food experiences as well. Growing up, I enjoyed being out of the house as much as possible. So, meals at friend's homes with their families was really common. My dad is a writer who traveled a bunch, and in addition to working, my mom is very active in the community and constantly on the go. So our family meals consisted of a lotta takeout or eating at different times with whoever was around. My mom (and I) would much rather bake than cook a full meal.

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What meal most reminds you of your childhood?

Mac & Cheese from Sweet Potato & Pecans in Montclair, RIP. Or My mom's matzo ball soup with my grandmother's challah. Close second.

Tell us a bit about your venture. What is your role and how did you get into this industry?

Motzi Challah is a bread project rooted in my family's tradition of sharing our challah with the community. Growing up, my mom would bake two loaves of challah on Fridays, always giving 1 to a neighbor or family in town. The recipe is my grandmothers and is absolutely singular. Since her passing a few years back, I've felt responsible to carry it forward, bringing the bread to new people and places.

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How has the pandemic affected you?

I'm extremely lucky to remain employed throughout this pandemic, working for the clothing brand Bape. This allowed me the time and stability to formally start Motzi Challah back in May with the help of my friends Ben, Jake, and girlfriend/design partner Kelley. We decided to donate 100% of our proceeds towards social justice initiatives and foundations focused on pandemic relief and will commit to similar actions moving forward.

What do you think working in this industry during this time has taught you?

Again, I (and Motzi Challah) have not been impacted whatsoever in comparison to owners and employees of restaurants who have dedicated their entire lives to the food industry and rely on its functioning for their own basic needs. I sympathize with their situation and would urge the government to provide stronger economic relief packages for the industry.

What's your fave item on your menu?

Challah. I'd suggest buying 2 for $15.

Once it is completely safe to eat out again and socialize, where is the first place you're going out to eat at and what are you ordering?

Udon at Hanon in Brooklyn.

Anything exciting coming up for you?

Our order menu will open today, 2/24. Follow @motzi_challah on IG for updates. Thanks so much busboy :) !

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