• Monday, March 04, 2024
businessday logo


Meet Chef Hilda Baci who cooked her way to world record

Meet Chef Hilda Baci who cooked her way to world record

Hilda Bassey Effiong’s cooking marathon has put Nigerian cuisine on the global culinary map. With her unique twist on traditional Nigerian dishes and ability to stand for hours cooking different delicacies, Hilda Baci, as she is popularly known, has set a new world record.

For the 27-year- old, the feat is just another step in her culinary journey as she hopes to showcase the diversity and richness of Nigerian culture, and inspire other people from different parts of the world to explore the flavours and textures of her country’s cuisine.

Effiong hails from Akwa Ibom State and owns a food brand in Lagos called ‘My Food by Hilda’, which she started in February 2020 from a small apartment in Ikate, Lagos where she made bowl recipes for clients during the Covid-19 lockdown, increasing her customer base online and offline. She also shared recipes online, which gave rise to her first online class.

Effiong acquired her catering skills under the tutelage of her mother, who is also a chef and owns her own food brand ‘Calabar Pot’.

The record-breaking cook-a-thon

Effiong began the cooking marathon on May 11, 2023 to break the record of 87 hours and 45 minutes set by Chef Lata Tondon in India in 2019. The Nigerian chef blew past that record at 7:46 a.m. on Monday, clocking 87 hours and 46 minutes and cooked till 4pm on Monday evening to make the new record of cooking for four days non-stop.

During the exercise, she had to stand to cook, and was not permitted to sit while cooking. She was not allowed to take coffee, stimulants, or any energy drink to artificially boost her energy and bodily strength while cooking.

Eating food, drinking water or fruit juice, and taking glucose was among the things she could do in order not to starve or have leg cramps during the exercise.

The exercise took place at Amore Gardens, Lekki, Lagos State. The event centre was perfect for Effiong, who cooked in a transparent, open kitchen, and the space was filled with over a thousand people cheering and supporting her as she prepared to break the world record.

Effiong was not allowed time to sleep as she was to cook round the clock – morning, afternoon, evening, and night. She had a 5-minute rest per hour, which is an hour break every 12 hours.

According to reports, Effiong got a 30-minute break every 6 hours, spent the 30 minutes in a medical van close by, within which she could take a nap, use the restroom, and also get a medical assessment or checkup by the medical team available on the spot.

Read also: Why Guinness World Records is yet to confirm Hilda Baci’s record

The food she cooked was not for sale; they were shared to the people who came to the venue for free. Some of her fans and supporters throughout the process who came in to cheer for her

Effiong was at liberty to cook different meals. Every meal cooked and every plate served were recorded. She had cooked over 115 meals so far with almost 3,000 portions as of the time of filing this report.

During the exercise she appeared exhausted with leg cramps, but the people around her were cheering her on to boost her morale.

Most of the food items, ingredients and utensils, among others, that she used for this project were provided by her sponsors.

Uber, one of her partners, offered a 40 percent discounted ride to the venue for people who wished to join and cheer her up at the venue.