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Nigerian Chef, Hilda Baci, Sets New Official Guinness World Record for Longest Cooking Marathon

Nigerian Chef, Hilda Baci, Sets New Official Guinness World Record for Longest Cooking Marathon

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Baci’s cook-a-thon surpasses the previous record of 87 hours 45 minutes held by Indian Chef, Lata Tondon, in 2019 with 5 hours, 26 minutes.

By Helena Olori

After weeks of anxiously waiting for official confirmation from the Guinness World Records (GWR), Nigerian chef, Hilda Effiong Bassey, better known as Hilda Baci, has finally been confirmed as the new record holder for the longest cooking marathon by an individual, with an impressive time of 93 hours and 11 minutes.

The confirmation statement came on Tuesday along with a video of the official adjudicator, Mark McKinley, who announced Baci’s feat. According to McKinley, the 26-year-old had attempted to set a record of 100 hours; however, almost seven hours were deducted from her final total for mistakenly taking extra minutes for one of her rest breaks at the beginning of the contest.

“As with all ‘longest marathon’ records, the participant is permitted a five-minute rest break for every continuous hour of activity. These rest breaks can be accumulated if not taken. They were the only times Hilda could use the bathroom or sleep during the attempt,” the statement reads.

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Hilda Baci had embarked on her audacious cooking marathon, or “cook-a-thon,” on Thursday 11 May and continued through to Monday 15 May, cooking over 100 pots of food, guided by a meticulously curated and planned 35-item menu, during her four-day kitchen stint.

Her goal was simple, “to put Nigerian cuisine on the map and to inspire young African women to chase their dreams.” “I also decided to break this record to truly push my limits and test my abilities,” she told GWR.

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The news of Baci’s inspiring journey quickly spread across social media platforms as millions of people, within and outside Nigeria, eagerly followed her progress on her Instagram live stream, and many Lagos residents stormed the cooking venue at Amore Gardens, Lekki, including the then Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu; and award-winning singer, Tiwa Savage.

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According to the “Amazing Records” keeper, “Hilda’s cook-a-thon was in fact so popular that our website crashed for two days due to the immense volume of traffic we received from her legion of loyal fans.”

Her remarkable feat has also led to a surge in the number of Nigerians seeking to break or set a new Guinness World Record, including Ekiti-based chef, Damilola Adeparusi, known as Chef Dammy, who has embarked on a 120-hours cooking marathon.

Hilda Baci’s meals at the cook-a-thon were served to the crowd at the cooking venue, and donated to the Festus Fajemilo Foundation.

Hilda Baci’s passion for cooking was inspired by her mother who pushed her to pursue a culinary career after graduating with a sociology degree from Madonna University, Nigeria. Her journey to the top has been marked by numerous achievements, including hosting the television show, Dine on a Budget, in 2020 and winning the highly competitive Jollof Face-off competition in 2021, beating Ghana’s Leslie Kumordzie to claim the title and the $5,000 prize. She owns Myfood by Hilda restaurant in Lekki, Lagos.

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