Hilda Effiong Bassey, a 27-year-old chef popularly known as Hilda Baci, recently dominated headlines around the world for cooking for 100 hours in the hopes of landing a world record.
Setting an initial 96-hour target, Bassey went further to achieve a 100-hour cooking feat to beat the current record of 87 hours, 45 minutes set by Lata Tondon from India in 2019.
Bassey’s 4-day cooking marathon tagged the ‘Hilda Baci Cookathon’ kicked off at exactly 4:00 p.m. on May 11, 2023 and ended at 10:00 p.m. on May 15, 2023 at the Amore Gardens in Lekki, Lagos State.
Cooking over 100 meals and feeding over a thousand people, the foodpreneur did well to showcase her culinary skills using various local and intercontinental recipes to put Nigerian cuisines on the global culinary map.
Speaking in an interview days after her milestone cooking adventure, she said she almost gave up a couple of times but the support of family, friends and Nigerians encouraged and motivated her to keep on to the end.
She said, “In the beginning when I started the attempt, the first day was the hardest. I almost gave up a couple of times. As time went on, my family, friends, followers and in general the public that turned up for my attempt sort of became part of the dream and journey. Even when I wanted to give up and I saw how much people have invested their time, it dawned on me more that I wasn’t just doing this for myself.
“As soon as my 100-hour attempt was complete, I knew I couldn’t just leave without thanking everyone that supported me on this journey. Their love, presence and support were important to me both – online and offline. It helped me get through those days, those hours, those difficult moments. It was very important to me.”
She added, “I was through a lot of stress, and honestly speaking, my body didn’t feel well. My body failed me so many times, especially on the first day. Every time it did, I cried to God. I can remember that on the second day, people stayed in the rain and had an entire worship session. They stayed there, prayed and cried with me through all these hours just begging God for strength.”
“I feel it was just like Nigerians watching a dream come through. Honestly, this is something that will stick with me for a long time, because there is so much negative perception about Nigerians, but truly we are such amazing people. Just give us a chance.”