Last month while many of us were getting ready to kick back and enjoy the nice spring weather, Hilda Bassey Effiong was on a mission.
On Thursday, May 11, the 26-year-old Nigerian chef, who is widely known as Hilda Baci, turned on her cooker and proceeded to make over 100 recipes in the span of 4 days. Setting down her utensils on Monday, May 15, she had clocked in nearly 100 hours of non-stop cooking. This amazing feat won her a spot in the book of Guinness World Records as holder of the longest individual cooking marathon.
The marathon took place at Amore Gardens in Lekki, Lagos State, Nigeria. Here, Baci displayed incredible resilience as she worked day and night. She was not permitted to sit or use the restroom and was allotted a mere five-minute rest per hour that she cooked. The five minutes, if she elected not to use them for one hour, could roll over into the next hour. She was allowed one assistant at a time to aid with meal prep, washing up, and cleaning. All of the cooking, however, must be completed by the chef.
Baci cooked a series of mostly Nigerian recipes, and food was handed out for free to anyone present at the venue. Precautions were taken during the event, as medical assistants checked her vital signs several times throughout the day. Her breaks were often spent applying cold compresses to her forehead and getting well-deserved foot massages. After subtracting time for these short breaks, video footage showed a total cooking time of 93 hours 11 minutes.
This four-day cooking spree attracted the attention not only of her county but the entire world. She had politicians and celebrities rallying around her to show support and cheer her on. By the time she finished, she had beaten the previous record of 87 hours and 45 minutes, held by Indian Chef Lata Tandon, by more than 5 hours.
Guinness World Records enthusiastically declared her victory via their Twitter account with their announcement:
After reviewing all the footage, we’re delighted to announce that Hilda Baci is the new record holder for the longest cooking marathon (individual).Guinness World Records
This tweet then became their most renown to date. Shortly after announcing Baci’s record breaking win, Guinness World Records followed up with another tweet stating it was their best performing tweet of all time. The original tweet at that time had 220,000 likes and over 86,000 retweets.
This isn’t the first time Baci has caught the public eye. In 2021, she was the champion of a “Jollof Faceoff,” a competition between Ghanaian and Nigerian chefs to create the classic West African rice dish. She was also the host of a TV show Dine on a Budget and has starred in three films. Baci owns the food brand ‘My Food by Hilda.’ On what has inspired her to work hard and become successful, Baci has noted:
“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.”Hilda Baci
She is also inspired by her mother who is also a chef and owns a food brand called ‘Calabar Pot.’ You can learn more about Hilda Baci by checking out her YouTube channel where she posts recipes and other lifestyle content.
Baci has demonstrated incredible fortitude, dedication, and skill with her accomplishments. With so much success at such a young age, the world is excited to see what comes next for the talented chef.