These past few days were sleepless nights full of emotion for Nigerian chef Hilda Baci.
She had been cooking since Thursday (May 11) when she set out to establish a Guinness world record for the longest cooking marathon by an individual.
Joy dominated on Monday (May 15) when she achieved her goal in the Lekki area of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub.
At around 19:45 GMT on Monday, Baci cooked for the 100th hour to become a national sensation in the West African nation. Thousands who gathered at the scene jubilated and sang her praises as she stopped cooking a few minutes after.
“I generally just feel a lot of relief and I'm very happy and I'm very proud. The turnout was very unexpected, so that definitely surprised me and I'm honestly just very happy and very pleased and grateful and am looking forward to like what’s next to come."
Baci said she wanted to show how hardworking and determined Nigerian youths are and also as a campaign for young African women who are sidelined in society.
Since she started to cook under supervision, the chef only had five-minute breaks every hour, or an accumulated one hour after a stretch of 12 hours for everything else, from bathing to medical check-ups and resting.
By 3PM GMT Monday (May 15), she had cooked for over 97 hours, surpassing her initial target and the world record of 87 hours and 45 minutes.
“What prompted us or prompted me to change the hours to 100? It wasn't anything out of the ordinary."
"It was just my friends pretty much talked me into it and psyched me into it like, 'you can actually do 100 hours. Yeah, I think it'd be nice if you did it. I think you take a longer time for someone to break 100 hours as opposed to 96 hours because it just seems so much.' And my brother was like, yeah, if you think you can, then you owe it to yourself to just try."
Guinness World Records was not present but tweeted they were aware of the chef's 'amazing' attempt to break the cooking record.“We need to review all the evidence first before officially confirming a record,” the global brand said.
As thousands of locals and celebrities cheered her on at the scene through day and night, many more -Tiwa Savage and Burna Boy to name a few- monitored online via several streaming platforms.
It was as if the whole of Nigeria kept the energy alive as Hilda Baci cooked dozens of national delicacies ranging from soups to stew and various proteins.
President Muhamadu Buhari celebrated her 'drive, ambition and resilience'. 2019 records holder Indian Lata Tondon also rooted for her.