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Nigerian chef achieves longest cooking hours

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By Mercy Kelani

The 27-year food entrepreneur cooked her way into Guinness World Records.

Hilda Bassey Effiong, a Nigerian chef popularly known as Hilda Baci, recently broke the world record of the longest cooking hours set by an Indian chef named Lata Tondon. The Indian chef set the world record by 87 hours, 45 minutes of cooking. However, the Nigerian chef broke the record by cooking non-stop for 100 hours. The new world record holder admitted that making it into the Guinness World Records was an herculean task, as she almost gave up the contest about 6 hours into it but for the support of her team and Nigerians who were present to cheer her on.

This history was made at the Amore Gardens, Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria. The chef began the contest on Monday morning, May 11, 2023, with an initial plan of cooking for 96 hours and smashing the world record by 9 hours and 15 minutes. Although tired and wanting to give up after 6 hours of the exercise, Hilda, having broken the global record by completing 96 cooking hours, decided to extend her initial mission by an extra four hours, thereby cooking for 100 hours and surpassing the previous record by 13 hours and 15 minutes.

Celebrities, dignitaries and Nigerian citizens showed up to support her.

Guinness World Records, responding to a query on Twitter, stated that “we’re aware of this amazing record attempt, we need to review all the evidence first before officially confirming a record”. Therefore, it is believed that after completion of a record attempt by an individual, there must be submission of evidence to the world record body for validation. The first stage to successfully be a Guinness World Records title holder depends on the quality of application. The second stage, according to the body begins upon completion of attempt and submission of evidence for review.

Graduate of Sociology at Madonna University and chef receive overwhelming support from many celebrities including Kate Henshaw, Tiwa Savage, Sidney Talker, Shawn Faqua, and others. While many of them were there to support physically, many rooted for her online. Senator Godswill Akpabio, former governor of her state, Akwa-Ibom state, in company of other senators paid a solidarity visit at the cook-a-thon venue. Majority of the senators had a taste of her cooking before leaving the venue.

Over 100 national delicacies were prepared during the exercise.

The President of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, also applauded the Lagos food entrepreneur for making history and working her way into the Guinness World Records by completing the longest straight hours of cooking. According to the president, this act, by a diligent and resilient Nigerian, has placed the country in global spotlight. Represented by the presidential spokesman, the president expressed amazement at the culinary expert’s capability to make a career from her talent and passion, thereby enabling rippling effects in the country’s economy.

Buhari expressed hope that the drive and ambition of the 27-year old, as a cultural icon, has attracted more interest and insight into the varieties and uniqueness of Nigerian foods which will generate massive tourism benefits for the country. Within the achieved 100 hours of the contest, Hilda Baci used about 55 recipes to make more than 100 Nigerian delicacies. The president appreciated sponsors of the Hilda cook-a-thon — Dano, Gino, and others — even as current Governor-elect of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-olu visited the scene history making.

Dana Air gave the culinary boss 1 year free domestic travel tickets.

To congratulate the lady who cooked her way into global recognition, Chief Operating Officer of Dana Air, Ememobong Ettete, announced the reward of one year of free tickets for domestic travels by Dana Air for Hilda and three months for her mum who is also a chef and was there for her during this period. He added that the company will continually support the crafts, efforts, creativity and innovations of young Nigerians whose brands bear the go-getting Nigerian resilience.

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