Nigerian chef Hilda Effiong Bassey has become a national sensation after cooking nonstop for 100 hours, in an attempt to set a world record.
The chef, known on social media as Hilda Baci, started cooking on Thursday and continued until Monday – creating more than 55 recipes and over 100 meals designed to showcase the best of Nigerian cuisine in the marathon kitchen session.
The Guinness world record committee still has to confirm that all their criteria have been met and whether Bassey will become the record holder.
The record to beat – 87 hours and 45 minutes – was set in 2019 by Indian chef Lata Tondon who posted a message of support to Bassey during her attempt.
Bassey told CNN that she was motivated to attempt the record because she wants to put Nigerian food on the map.
“Nigerian cuisine is the best out there,” she said. “The more recipes are propagated, the more people will be willing to try it. Nigerian food is such comfort food,” she added.
Despite the lack of sleep throughout her cooking spree in Lagos, Bassey remained in high spirits and could be spotted dancing and waving at her fans who turned out in droves to support her.
One man, Uduak Obong, told CNN he took a bus journey through the night, traveling hundreds of kilometers to arrive at the venue in Lagos.
“I drove 12 hours to be right here to support my sister, my friend. She’s just amazing,” he said.
Enioluwa Adeoluwa, a media personality, who also doubled as MC for the cookathon, told CNN: “When a Nigerian is doing something we all come out to show support… We are super excited. She’s doing such an amazing job.”
“She’s opening the door to the African food market and showing all the youth out here that if you can dream it, you can achieve it,” actor and Nollywood star Damilola Ogunsi said.
Celebrities including musician Tiwa Savage and local politicians visited Bassey during the cooking challenge.
Bassey told CNN that she nearly gave up on the first day, but after surpassing the previous record, she decided to aim for 100 hours.
“The first day was the most difficult. I was ready to give up 6 hours in. I feel like a miracle happened and somehow I got to this. The support has been incredible,” she said.