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  In the last few days, there’s been excited chatter on social media about an attempt by Hilda Baci, a Nigerian chef, to break a longstanding world record for the longest time spent cooking. Hilda, whose campaign has already run for more than 70 hours (as of the time of this report), has attracted the attention of millions of Nigerians. Everyone—from government officials to artists and regular people –appears to be rooting for her success.
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Here are some interesting facts about Hilda and her push to shatter a world record.
  • ‘Hilda Baci’ is Hilda Effiong Bassey. She is a chef, TV producer, and entrepreneur.
  • Hilda is trying to break the Guinness World Record for Longest Cooking Time by an individual. The current record is held by Lata Tondon, an Indian chef, who achieved this in 87 hours, 45 minutes and 0 seconds, in Rewa, India, in 2019.
  • Hilda Baci wants to set a new record at 96 hours, 9 hours longer than the current record. She began the challenge on Thursday, May 11, at 4 PM, and is aiming to reach her goal on Monday, May 15.
  • Hilda Effiong Bassey is 27 years old. She hails from Nsit Ubium Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
  • She has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, which she obtained in 2015 from Madonna University, Okija.
  • She is the founder, owner and Head Cook at My Food by Hilda. The restaurant is located at 6 Emmanuel Abimbola Cole Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos State. Hilda says she started her business alone in a small apartment in Ikate; it now employs a number of staff, who help with procurement, meal preparation, and cleaning. She plans to expand to other locations.
  • Hilda Baci is no stranger to public cooking events. She won the maiden edition of the Jollof Faceoff Competition, which took place in August 2021. She represented Nigeria at the contest (held in Ghana) and took home the $5,000 winning prize.
  • According to Baci, she took up the challenge to break the cooking marathon record in order to portray Africa in a positive light to the world through its many dishes. She also says it’s evidence of “what young people can exhibit with the right platform and support.”

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  • Hilda says she had to prepare physically and psychologically for the attempt at the world record. This has involved “lifestyle changes”, as well as having to lose more than 20kg, all done in order to get fit for the gruelling event.
  • The venue of the Cook-A-Thon is the Amore Gardens, situated in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos. A crowd of supporters has built up there over the last couple of days, as Hilda has drawn closer to breaking the record. The atmosphere there is festive, and has featured networking, games, and brand showcases.
  • The meals Hilda has cooked at the event include local and intercontinental dishes. Items on her menu are party jollof, coconut rice, native rice, Asun rice, Jollof pasta, chicken curry, Edika Ikong, Oha, Afam, Ofe Nsala, Afang, and Ofe Akwu. Some of the others are Abacha, African breadfruit, Burger, Pancake, Peppered fish, Turkey stew, Ofada sauce, and chicken wraps.
  • The meals she’s cooked have been served to the people present at the venue of the event, free of charge. As of the 64th hour of her attempt at the world record, more than 2,790 people had been served. Reports say that Hilda has maintained a high standard with the meals she has cooked, despite the demanding nature of her task.
  • The sponsors of the Cook-A-Thon thus far have included Gino Max Cubes, GB Foods, Filmhouse, Arla, Monty Suites, Uber, Baigewallet, and the Culinary Arts Practitioners Association of Nigeria, among others. The sponsors have provided most of the ingredients, utensils and other materials that Hilda has used at the Cook-A-Thon.
  • According to the rules set for the attempt at the Guinness World Record, Hilda is allowed to eat food, drink water and fruit juice, and ingest glucose. But she is not permitted to drink coffee, energy drinks, stimulants, or other items that may artificially enhance her energy levels.
  • Hilda has taken an hour break in between 12 hours of cooking, in line with the rules of the challenge.
  • She has received support from a cross-section of the Nigerian public. Messages hailing her determination and wishing her success have come from President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu; former vice president Atiku Abubakar; Labour Party Presidential candidate Peter Obi; and former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili. The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, visited the venue of the Cook-A-Thon to show his support for Hilda.
  • Various celebrities have also dropped by the venue of the cooking marathon to cheer Hilda on. They include Nollywood actor Charles Okocha, actress Kate Henshaw, singer Tiwa Savage, and media personality Enioluwa. Tonto Dikeh, Ruth Kadiri, and Iyabo Ojo have also celebrated Hilda’s move for the record.

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  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hilda provided more than 3,000 meals to underprivileged communities.
  • Hilda Baci’s mother also owns a restaurant. Hilda and her brother learnt to cook various dishes from her; both later went on to found ‘My Food’ a culinary business, while she was still a student at Madonna University.
  • As an actress, Hilda has starred in a number of movies. She has a supporting lead role in Dreamchaser, which was nominated for best film at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA). She has also been featured in various soap operas, including Flatmates, Sideways, Mr and Mrs Robert, and A Walk on the Water.
Featured Image Source: Daily Post NG
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This article was first published on 15th May 2023


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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