In a nation known for its rich culinary traditions, Hilda Bassey Effiong, popularly known as Hilda Baci, a talented Nigerian chef, has captured the hearts of every Nigerian through an extraordinary cooking marathon which her the place holder of the longest cooking marathon done by an individual.
Baci’s relentless feat of breaking the world record by cooking non-stop for 100 hours 40 minutes has not only amazed the nation but also brought together Nigerians from all walks of life, reigniting a sense of unity and pride.
Since commencing her cooking marathon on a Thursday afternoon, the world records holder has showcased her exceptional skills by preparing and presenting over 100 diverse and mouthwatering dishes. From the aromatic jollof rice to an array of delectable rice and pasta dishes, as well as the beloved street food, akara, her culinary creations have left everyone in awe. With each dish, she not only tantalizes the taste buds but also showcases the depth and diversity of Nigerian cuisine.
During the cookathon, she was only permitted to have one assistant at a time and is allowed a five-minute break per hour or the equivalent distributed over several hours. Despite the tremendous physical exertion, she remains determined, stating that this endeavor exemplifies the resilience of young people when provided with the right platform and support.
Baci courageously surpassing the existing world record of 87 hours and 45 minutes, set by a renowned Indian chef Lata Tondon in 2019, has garnered tremendous support from politicians, celebrities, and an exuberant crowd.
President Muhammadu Buhari commended Baci for her resilence and also called her a cultural icon via a Twitter post. Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who also visited the venue, expressed pride in having her embark on this remarkable journey within their state. Additionally, Nigeria’s Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, personally reached out to Baci to convey his admiration and support. These gestures of encouragement from influential leaders underscore the significance of her achievement and its impact on the nation.
The entire nation stands united behind her, eagerly awaiting the verdict from Guinness World Records. While officials from the organization may not be physically present at the venue in Amore Gardens, Lekki, Lagos, CCTV cameras ensure that every moment of this historic event is monitored and recorded.
Beyond the pursuit of a world record, Baci’s cooking marathon has become a symbol of unity in Nigeria. The event has sparked a renewed sense of pride and cultural appreciation among Nigerians, transcending regional, ethnic, and socioeconomic boundaries. Regardless of their background, people from all corners of the country have come together to rally behind Baci, celebrating the culinary heritage that unites them.
At only 27 years old, Baci serves as an inspiration to young Nigerians. She emphasizes that her marathon cooking session is not just a personal achievement but a testament to the strength and determination of the youth when provided with the right support and platform. Her commitment and unwavering spirit demonstrate the potential and resilience of the nation’s young generation.
Her journey goes beyond breaking records; it encapsulates the essence of Nigerian culinary traditions and celebrates the vibrant flavors that define the nation’s heritage.
Baci’s victory at the “Jollof Faceoff” in 2021, where she emerged as the champion by showcasing her expertise in the iconic West African spicy rice dish, further solidifies her culinary prowess. Her dedication to preserving and showcasing Nigeria’s culinary treasures inspires a renewed appreciation for the country’s gastronomic heritage.