Hilda Baci has been cooking since last week Thursday 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.
By 15:00 GMT on Monday, Baci had cooked for more than 97 hours in the Lekki area of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, to become a national sensation in the West African nation. Many at the scene and online cheered her on to reach the 100-hour mark.
No one from Guinness World Records was present at the scene but the organization 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 global brand said.
By attempting to beat the record, the Nigerian chef said Thursday she wanted to show how hardworking and determined Nigerian youths are and also as a 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.
Since 15:00 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 the most iconic West African dishes, also featured on the menu.
She has had only five-minute breaks every hour or an accumulated one hour after a stretch of 12 hours 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 cooking 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 at the scene said he never doubted her 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.”