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“Nigerian cuisine is the best out there,” says Nigerian chef Hilda Effiong Bassey. “The more recipes are propagated, the more people will be willing to try it. Nigerian food is such comfort food.”
Known on social media as Hilda Baci, this 27-year-old chef is on a mission to spread Nigerian culture through the food she makes and shares with the world. Nigeria is home to a range of ethnic groups, which have all contributed to its diverse food culture. And, the country is big on hospitality.
According to its Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, “The beauty in the Nigerian experience is that guests are fed generously.” A few major Nigerian dishes are Edikaikong (a comforting vegetable stew prepared with ugwu, or native pumpkin leaves), Bush meat, pounded yam, Suya (a smoked, spiced meat skewer) and snacks like Akara (a fritter made from bean flour).
To Hilda Baci, spreading Nigerian food culture means setting out to break a Guinness World Record. Last Thursday, she began the 100-hour journey to set a new global record for the most hours spent continuously cooking, and she succeeded around 19:45 GMT on Monday. The previous record-holder had cooked for 87 hours and 45 minutes in 2019, but Baci went above and beyond to really set her own record.
Cooking in Lagos, Nigeria, Baci made a range of Nigerian and West African dishes to really show off her cooking skills. She prepared over 100 different dishes over those long hours, only taking five-minute breaks every hour or an hour break after a 12-hour stretch of cooking. Politicians and celebrities all joined the crowd to watch. Originally, Baci planned to cook for somewhere around 90 hours, but she kept going as her audience encouraged her to reach the 100-hour mark.
"We are proud to have Hilda embarking on this journey in our state. I will continue to follow the updates and look forward to the final declaration,” said Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who went to watch Baci cook on Sunday.
The record hasn’t been confirmed as official by Guinness yet, but we’re rooting for you, Hilda!