Nigerian chef cooks nonstop for 100 hours to set new world record

A Nigerian chef set a new global record for the longest hours nonstop cooking as she cooked for 100 hours, surpassing the current record on Monday.

Hilda Baci had been cooking since Thursday of last week when she set out to beat the Guinness World Record of 87 hours and 45 minutes set in 2019 by Lata Tondon, an Indian chef.

At around 7:45 PM GMT on Monday, Baci cooked for the 100th hour in the Lekki area of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, becoming a sensation in the West African nation. Thousands who gathered at the scene celebrated and sang her praises as she stopped cooking a few minutes after.

Chef Hilda Baci during her 97-hour cook-a-thon in Lagos, Nigeria on May 13, 2023.Sunday Alamba / AP

The Guinness World Records tweeted it was aware of the chef’s attempt to break the cooking record. “We need to review all the evidence first before officially confirming a record,” the organization said.

By attempting to beat the record, the Nigerian chef said Thursday she wanted to show how hardworking and determined Nigerian youths are and campaign for young African women who are sidelined in society.

“Even when it comes to the brands you want to work with, it is like you have to go an extra mile to be taken seriously,” said Baci, adding that she hoped too that the world would learn more about Nigerian cuisines.

At 3 PM GMT on Thursday, she started to cook dozens of Nigerian delicacies under supervision, ranging from soups to stew and various proteins. Jollof rice, one of West Africa’s most iconic dishes, also featured on the menu.

Nigerian Jollof rice.Osarieme Eweka / Getty Images

She took five-minute breaks every hour, and took one hour after a stretch of 12 hours of cooking for everything else, from bathing to medical checkups and resting.

As thousands of locals and celebrities cheered her on at the scene through day and night, many more monitored online via several streaming platforms.

After she surpassed the current record, President Muhammadu Buhari tweeted that Monday was a great day for Nigeria. “Hilda’s drive, ambition and resilience have brought great interest and insight into the uniqueness of Nigerian food,” said Buhari.

As Baci neared the 100-hour mark, Kingsley Ofoma, a local who was watching her work, said he never doubted her ability to surpass the global record. “The energy here is very high and positive; everybody is having fun,” he said. “So eating her food free of charge is not even the best of it.”

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