Nigerian chef and restaurateur, Hilda Effiong Bassey, professionally known as Hilda Baci, set her sights on breaking the Guinness World Record for the “longest cooking marathon by an individual”.
After surpassing the 87 hours 50 minutes mark, Hilda broke the previous record held by Indian chef Lata Tondon putting herself in good stead to achieve her goal. The cooking marathon took place at Amore Gardens in Lekki, Lagos State, where Hilda cooked non-stop for a total of 100 hours over four days.
Guinness World Record certifying Hilda’s achievement would officially displace Lata Tondon’s record of 87 hours and 45 minutes of uninterrupted cooking in 2019. Hilda’s incredible feat stands as a testament to her passion and dedication to the culinary arts. Her love for cooking had previously earned her the grand prize of $5000 at the maiden edition of the Jollof Face-off Competition in 2021, further highlighting her culinary prowess.
Hilda Baci’s determination to break the Guinness World Record for the “longest cooking marathon by an individual” indeed captured the attention of Nigerians, who rallied support for her both online and at the venue of the cook-a-thon. Her quest to make history generated significant buzz on social media platforms and mainstream international media, with millions of viewers tuning in to stream her progress live.
Nigeria’s President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, expressed his support on social media with the caption “IDAN doesn’t break, she breaks records. We are rooting for you, Hilda.” The Lagos State Governor, Babjide Sanwo-Olu, was also present at the venue of the cook-a-thon, where he praised Baci for her dedication and passion for cooking, as well as her desire to put Nigerian culture on the map.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar also commended Baci for her determination to set a new world record and carve her name in the annals of history. He acknowledged that the feat was not an easy one but expressed his belief in Baci’s grit and passion, stating that she inspired millions by showcasing the strength of the human spirit. Similarly, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, applauded Baci’s efforts to beat the current Guinness World Record, describing it as a true Nigerian spirit of hard work and resilience. He commended her for inspiring many Nigerian youths to live their dreams through hard work and dedication and wished her well on her journey to make history. Former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, also joined the support for Baci, describing her as “evidently a woman diligent in her work.”
Other notable personalities who visited Amore Gardens to show their support for Hilda Baci included the lead pastor of Harvesters International Christian Centre Lagos, Pastor Bolaji Idowu, and actor Charles Okocha, among others. Additionally, Nigerian artists and actors, including Wizkid, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, Adesuwa and Banky Wellington, Kate Henshaw, and many more, all showed their support for Lagos-based chef Hilda Baci in her quest to break the world record for the longest cooking marathon. In addition to the positive reactions, some criticized the event, saying that it shifted attention from more pressing issues, such as the election tribunal that was overshadowed by the event. The country’s election tribunal is handling petitions about the conduct of the 2023 elections. Several political parties had lodged complaints about the conduct of the elections, claiming irregularities in the vote-counting process. However, others believed that the cook-a-thon was a positive distraction from the political turmoil in the country. They argued that it was essential to celebrate the achievements of Nigerians, such as Baci’s record-breaking attempt, and to promote the country’s cultural heritage.
Hilda Baci’s cook-a-thon became more than just an attempt to break a world record. It became a symbol of resilience, determination, and the power of dreams. Through her incredible feat, Hilda not only made her mark in history but also touched the hearts and minds of people around the world, inspiring them to pursue their passions relentlessly. Her unwavering spirit united Nigerians, bridging gaps and reminding us all of the shared values that connect us. Hilda Baci’s cook-a-thon stands as a true testament to the indomitable Nigerian spirit and the potential we all hold within us to accomplish extraordinary things.
The achievement struck a chord with people from all walks of life, and serves as a powerful reminder of the transformative power of following one’s passion and the amazing results that can be gotten when one pours their heart and soul into something they love.