Hilda Baci, a 27-year-old Nigerian chef, who embarked on an extraordinary culinary challenge to break the Guinness World Record for the longest time spent cooking is just ‘confirmation’ away from making history. Baci’s journey towards this ambitious goal has been fueled by her passion for Nigerian food and her determination to overcome the obstacles she faced as a young woman in the industry.
Though she has beat the current record, which stands at 87 hours and 45 minutes, the Guinness World Records confirmed via Twitter, that they “need to review all the evidence first before officially confirming a record.” Baci has surpassed this record by hitting her goal of cooking continuously for 96 hours.
Baci’s dream of attempting the record began five years ago, but she had to patiently wait for the right moment. As she explained in an interview with Zikoko, “The record I selected — longest cooking marathon — had just been broken when I reached out to Guinness World Records in 2018, so they said I had to wait a couple of years first.” During this time, she continued to develop her culinary skills while working a full-time job in the fashion retail industry.
Baci’s ambitious nature has driven her to pursue various creative ventures, including acting, presenting cooking TV shows, and participating in talent shows. She thrives on challenging herself and pushing boundaries. She said she goes “after the biggest possible projects to challenge myself to be the great person I’ve dreamt of becoming.”
Since childhood, Baci had been captivated by the Guinness World Records, always imagining that one day she would achieve something significant enough to be included in the book. As her cooking career took shape, she revisited this childhood dream and decided to pursue it through her love for food.
Baci encountered scepticism and challenges in gaining recognition in the Nigerian food industry due to her young age and being unmarried.
She shared, “I want people to look beyond my appearance and know I put a lot of effort into my craft and business.” Her determination to gain respect as a chef and visionary led her to seek inspiration from Anthony Bourdain, a world-renowned chef.
With the help of Nowe Isibor, one of Baci’s former cooking students, the two began planning the record-breaking attempt. They submitted their application to the Guinness World Records and received the guidelines and approval process. Baci’s dedication and hard work were evident as she described the preparation, saying, “I’ll prepare about 80 recipes… It’ll be a public event that people can RSVP to attend and eat as much as they can.”
For Baci, cooking has always been a part of her life, beginning with her childhood experiments in the kitchen. Her love for cooking was nurtured by her mother’s dedication to creating memorable dining experiences. Although she never received formal culinary training, her work is guided by her intuition and love for the craft. Looking ahead, she expressed her desire to propagate Nigerian recipes globally, envisioning Nigerian cuisine as “a staple in international cuisine just like French or Italian.”
Baci’s venture has received tremendous support and recognition from her community and the Nigerian culinary industry. Esteemed figures in the food, entertainment and political world have praised her talent and dedication, recognizing her as an influential figure in Nigeria. Internationally, food enthusiasts eagerly await the outcome of her record-breaking attempt, generating buzz in the global culinary scene.
Hilda Baci’s journey embodies the spirit of determination and love for food. As she strives to make Nigerian recipes a global sensation, her record-breaking attempt serves as a testament to the rich flavours and cultural significance of Nigerian cuisine.