Nigerian chef Hilda Bassey’s cooking has got tongues wagging. Not only has she cooked up a possible new Guinness World Record, but her impact on the internet has seen her reach over 200,000 searches on Google.

So far, over 200,000 Google searches have carried queries regarding Bassey, popularly known as Hilda Baci.

Bassey had, on Monday morning, surpassed the 87 hours 45 minutes record set by Guinness World Record holder Lata Tandon. She began the competition last Thursday at exactly 4pm when she put on her cooker.

Bassey initially set out to cook for 96 hours, setting a new world record at Lekki in Amore Gardens, but continued cooking for 100 hours.

Her popularity after the first day gathered momentum as several tweets associated with her Cook-A-Thon spread throughout the social media platform, Twitter.

Bassey is currently the second most searched person in Nigeria since Sunday, May 14, 2023, with over 200 000 searches, just behind Yoruba actor Murphy Afolabi who is also on 200 000 searches, according to data available from Google Trends

Some of the searches linked to Bassey include: hilda, guinness book of record, guinness world records hilda bassey, hilda baci live, hilda cook, hilda cookathon, longest cooking time, amongst others.

Guinness World Records has reacted in a tweet that they are aware of Bassey’s feat but need to review the evidence before confirming the record. A lawyer and one of the independent judges who assessed the event, Uqbah Lukman-Balogun told TechCabal that the assessment was very important before the certificate could be given.

“Whenever she finishes her attempt, she sends all the necessary evidence. Prior to attempting the record, certain conditions must be fulfilled. She must set up the camera, judges, timekeepers and the medical team – all of it is in the guide. After everything, the team must send a report of everything to the Guinness World Records to make sure everything is correct.”

Lukman-Balogun said a 12-week review would then determine if the record is broken. He said the process could be hastened to five days with the payment of $800 – $1000. The Guinness World Records, in its guidelines, states that the 12 weeks waiting time can be extended, especially due to high demand from several applicants.

Support for the Chef

Several goodwill messages have continued to pour in for the chef from political leaders, celebrities, clerics, and other well-meaning Nigerians.

So far, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, President-Elect Bola Tinubu, Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, Labour Party (LP)’s presidential candidate Peter Obi, and other personalities have also lauded Bassey for attempting to beat the record.

Similarly, a former Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio; Peter Obi’s wife, Margaret Obi, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State; family, well-wishers, influencers and a host of celebrities, also stormed the venue to show their backing.

Lukman-Balogun stresses that Hilda’s support is organic, adding that she initially didn’t have many people cheering her.

“The support on social media was very organic. On the first day, there was no awareness, no noise per se. In fact, as a judge, I didn’t know about it until two weeks before the contest started. I think it is a matter of Nigeria being supported as much as possible. It wasn’t even pre-planned. We were surprised to see it everywhere. People were fascinated by what she was doing, and that’s how she got social media presence,” Lukman-Balogun said.

The lawyer said the support drove her from 96 hours to 100 hours.

Hilda, 27, said she had wanted to do this when she was 21. She began to prepare herself in 2018, five years prior. She said she wanted to be taken seriously in the hospitality industry and went on to cook over 100 meals in four days

A case of poor branding 

On the other side of Twitter, some individuals advocated for DJ Venum (Venmark Agboola), who attempted to break a Guinness World Record as the longest-performing DJ in 2018

Agboola told TechCabal that he did it for 18 days, between 1 and 19 August 2018. His manager, Babatunde Ahmed, who spoke to TechCabal on a separate occasion, noted that the 18-day performance record was still under review. However, Agboola clarified that the record wasn’t possible due to some technicalities. According to him, he wasn’t recording in real-time, and the fact that he had to give adequate documentation of the process made the whole attempt inconclusive. 

“I recorded everything, but when they (Guinness World Record) asked for extra stuff; I could not provide it because the time has passed. I couldn’t send live evidence, I sent it after the event,” Agboola explained. 

Agboola said he didn’t get as much support from brands and media to make the buzz at the time. This was in addition to the fact that his event was done in Akure. He said Lagos could have been the difference. 

“It is a different era now and then,” he explained. 

He said he would attempt a new record if there were better circumstances and more motivation, publicity and a juicy offer to make him commit again. 

“It is because of the fact that there is much more noise now that you can look at the past and say people did not notice. I had over 300 000 people come out in Akure. I had bikemen talk about it. If you take a bike from anywhere in Akure, they would know that you are going to that place where they were partying for a couple of days. So, it was a big feat then, and it’s a big feat now. It doesn’t take away the relevance. “

Joseph Olaoluwa Senior Reporter, TechCabal

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