Hilda Baci Shatters Guinness World Record with Over 100 Hours of Marathon Cooking

Hilda Baci Shatters Guinness World Record with Over 100 Hours of Marathon Cooking

Hilda Effiong-Bassey, also known as Hilda Baci, has ascended to stardom in the culinary world by obliterating the existing Guinness World Record for the longest individual cooking marathon. This extraordinary talent from Nigeria, lovingly referred to as the “Nigerian Jollof Queen”, has demonstrated her exceptional culinary skills and endurance with a staggering record of 100 hours and 40 minutes of continuous cooking.

Hilda Baci Shatters Guinness World Record with Over 100 Hours of Marathon Cooking

The monumental challenge commenced at exactly 4 p.m. on May 11, 2023. As the hands of the clock embarked on their relentless course, Hilda Baci ignited her kitchen stove and set the timer into motion, signifying the start of an extraordinary journey – a journey aimed at etching her name into the annals of history.

It was on April 19, 2023, that this Nigerian culinary artist, popularly known as Hilda Baci, unveiled her ambition to venture into a competition where no fellow Nigerian had ever set foot. In doing so, she became the second African woman to compete for, and attempt to topple, the existing record in “The Guinness World Record title for the longest cooking marathon by a single individual.”

With the unwavering support of her team, Hilda Baci stated in a prior press conference that she would strive to prepare an enormous array of Nigerian dishes over a continuous 96-hour period.

However, dethroning the reigning champion, Chef Lata Tondon from the small town of Rewa, in Madhya Pradesh, India – who held the world record with a formidable 87 hours, 45 minutes of non-stop cooking in 2019 – was by no means an easy task.

Tondon, widely revered as the “Iron Lady”, had outdone the 2018 record of 68 hours 30 minutes 01 seconds established by Rickey Lumpkin of the United States of America. During her record-setting feat in 2019, Tondon astoundingly prepared a staggering 1,600 kg of food grains, 400 vada-pavs, 250 sandwiches, and a variety of other dishes over a span of four intense, unyielding days. Her culinary marathon, according to the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, was enjoyed by more than 20,000 visitors, including orphanage children, disabled individuals, and elderly persons who attended the event.

Notably, Tondon also exhibited her dedication to environmental conservation by inspiring her supporters to purchase and plant over 17,000 saplings.

Before Hilda Baci attempt, a Kenyan chef named Maliha Mohammed had been the first African woman to challenge the GWR records for a cooking marathon. However, despite her commendable effort, she fell short of setting a new benchmark.

Hilda, on the other hand, a 27-year-old Psychology graduate, embarked on her quest to shatter the world record about five years ago. Known as an innovative content creator and adept cooking instructor, her initial motivation to break the world record was, in her own words, a “claim to fame”. Raised in a family with a legacy of cooking – her mother being a chef – she grew up with an obsession for the Guinness World Records, nurturing a powerful aspiration to see her own name inscribed within its pages.

The cook-a-thon took place at Amore Gardens, Lagos, where Hilda showcased her exceptional culinary talents. The entire event was broadcast live on Youtube and Instagram, allowing viewers from around the globe to witness her remarkable endeavor in real-time.

Hilda, cocooned in a glass-framed cooking set, dazzled the audience right from the get-go, preparing a tantalizing assortment of local delicacies on the first day of the Cookathon. Among her repertoire of dishes were Party Jollof, Coconut Rice, Native Rice, Peppered Fish, Turkey Stew,

and more. She demonstrated her versatility and artistry in the kitchen with each new dish she prepared.

Throughout the cook-a-thon, Hilda Baci was allowed the assistance of one person at a time and could take a five-minute break every hour, or accumulate these precious minutes over several hours. This challenge didn’t just test her culinary skills but her physical endurance and mental resilience as well.

On the first day of the cook-a-thon, a host of friends and celebrities, including Big Brother Naija stars Seyi Awolowo and Elozonam, graced the event to offer their support. The venue was also flooded with other well-meaning Nigerians eager to rally behind Hilda in her ambitious pursuit.

As the cook-a-thon progressed, traditional Efik dancers arrived 58 hours into the event, their traditional attire brightening the atmosphere even further. By the time Hilda was 64 hours into her attempt, she had already prepared over 110 meals and served more than 2,795 individuals. Pulse.ng reported that despite the “obvious exhaustion” from cooking non-stop for over 64 hours, she did not compromise the quality of the meals, maintaining the high standard synonymous with her brand.

On Monday morning at 7:45 a.m., Hilda triumphantly surpassed the record previously held by Tondon. But she didn’t stop there. Having achieved the initial target of 96 hours, she pushed on, aiming to reach the landmark of 100 hours of continuous cooking.

As the news of her feat began to spread, the Guinness World Records organization announced on Twitter that they would review Hilda’s attempt before officially recognizing her achievement. This announcement further increased the anticipation and excitement surrounding the event.

Hilda Baci record-breaking attempt attracted a surge of Nigerians to the cook-a-thon venue, with thousands more tracking the event’s progress live via social media. Among the prominent personalities who showed up to lend their support were Babajide Sanwoolu, the governor of Lagos state; Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa-Ibom state; popular musician Tiwa Savage; Spyro; Big Brother Titans ex-housemates, Thabang Mazibuko and Tsatsii Madiba.

The event also brought together food bloggers and influencers such as “Diary of a kitchen lover” and Gina Ojo, who were present to cheer on Hilda. The “Nigerian Jollof Queen” undoubtedly captured the attention and admiration of her nation, and indeed, the world, with her extraordinary culinary marathon.

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