In a remarkable feat that has captured the attention of millions, Hilda Effiong Bassey, popularly known as Hilda Baci, has officially broken the Guinness World Record for the longest cooking marathon (individual). The 26-year-old Nigerian chef accomplished this incredible feat with a time of 93 hours and 11 minutes, surpassing the previous record of 87 hours and 45 minutes set by Lata Tondon of India in 2019.
Hilda’s extraordinary journey began on Thursday, May 11, and continued tirelessly until Monday, May 15. Over the course of four days, she cooked over 100 pots of food, showcasing her exceptional culinary skills and passion for Nigerian cuisine.
Though Hilda initially aimed to set a record of 100 hours, a small deduction of almost seven hours was made due to an accidental extension of one of her rest breaks during the early stages of the attempt. As per the rules, participants are allowed a five-minute rest break for every continuous hour of activity, which can be accumulated if not taken. These breaks were the only times Hilda could attend to personal needs such as using the bathroom or catching some sleep.
Motivated by her desire to put Nigerian cuisine on the global map and inspire young African women to pursue their dreams, Hilda embarked on this record-breaking journey as a testament to her determination and to push her own limits.
To prepare for the challenge, Hilda created an extensive 35-item menu as a guide for each meal she would cook. She ensured she had all the necessary ingredients in place, with her team procuring additional food items as needed during the cook-a-thon.
Hilda’s record attempt gained widespread attention on social media, with millions of followers in Nigeria and beyond tracking her progress through a live stream on Instagram. The overwhelming support led to such a surge in website traffic that the Guinness World Records website experienced a two-day crash.
Throughout her remarkable journey, Hilda received visits from prominent Nigerian figures who came to support her, including the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, and the award-winning singer Tiwa Savage.
Hilda adhered to several rules during her record-breaking cook-a-thon. She was required to have at least two items being prepared or cooked at any given time, with a sous-chef allowed to assist in prep work, washing up, and cleaning the kitchen area. However, all the cooking had to be done solely by Hilda herself. Additionally, as per the regulations, all items cooked had to be consumed. Hilda extended an open invitation to the Nigerian public to enjoy her freshly made meals, and any leftover food was generously donated to the Festus Fajemilo Foundation, benefiting the less privileged.
With each pot of food she prepared large enough to serve 30-35 people, Hilda meticulously managed stock control to minimize wastage.
Hilda’s culinary journey began after graduating from Madonna University, Nigeria, with a degree in sociology. Inspired by her mother, Lynda Ndukwe, who is also a chef, Hilda has achieved significant milestones in her career. She hosted the television show “Dine on a Budget” in 2020 and emerged victorious in the Jollof Face-off competition in 2021, representing Nigeria against Ghana’s Leslie Kumordzie.
Now, in 2023, Hilda Baci can add the Guinness World Records title holder to her impressive list of achievements. Congratulations, Hilda, on this extraordinary accomplishment that has brought honor to Nigerian cuisine and served as an inspiration to aspiring chefs and dreamers worldwide!