Says Hilda Baci: “…to put myself on the map, to put Nigeria on the map, to put young African women on the map.”
THE efforts by a Nigerian chef to break the record for cooking non-stop have been officially recognised by Guinness World Records (GWR).
Hilda Baci became a national sensation after cooking for four days last month.
She cooked for 100 hours – and was allowed a five-minute break each hour or the equivalent over several hours.
However GWR has logged her record at 93 hours 11 minutes, docking her seven hours for taking a longer break than allowed on one occasion.
She still beat the previous record by more than five hours set in Rewa, in central India in 2019 by Indian chef Lata Tondon.
Chef Baci, 27, used more than 100 different dishes from when she turned on her cooker at 15:00 GMT on Thursday 11 May. She stopped cooking on the following Monday.
No GWR officials were at the event in the upmarket area of Lekki in Lagos, but they later reviewed the footage that had been recorded from CCTV cameras.
In her record-breaking effort Baci cooked mostly Nigerian meals, such as jollof rice, as well as different types of rice and pasta, and also made akara – a popular street food made from deep-fried mashed beans. The food was handed out to invited guests.
According to GWR rules, she was allowed one assistant at a time and was only permitted to use the toilet or nap during her breaks.
After her marathon cooking session, she spoke about what had motivated her: “I just knew that I need to do something that is… out of the ordinary to put myself on the map, to put Nigeria on the map, to put young African women on the map.”
Baci showed visible signs of the physical exertion and got cold compresses applied to her head, and foot massages during her breaks. A medical assistant also checked her vital signs.
Her attempt captivated the country, with politicians and celebrities stopping by to cheer her on.
“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,” GWR said.
Baci was no stranger to the heat of competitive kitchen events. In 2021 she defeated other contestants at the maiden edition of the “Jollof Faceoff”, including a Ghanaian rival in the final, to claim the crown for the best version of West Africa’s fiercely contested spicy rice meal.
She said her passion for cooking was inspired by her mother’s culinary techniques and that her recipes were homemade.
- Picture and text culled from the BBC