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From Cake Girl to Guinness World Record: Why UNIPORT Student Took on a 72-Hour Baking Marathon

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A year after the celebrity chef, Hilda Baci broke the record for longest cooking by an individual, a student at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Mary Afoma, has taken a bold step to break the Guinness World Record for longest baking by an individual.

Miss Afoma, inspired by Hilda Baci’s achievement baked for 72 hours non-stop in an attempt to break the current record set by an Irish chef, Alan Fisher. Recall that Nigerian chef, Hilda Baci received the Guinness World Records (GWR) plaque confirming her recent feat as record holder for the longest cooking marathon by an individual. Since Baci broke the record for longest cooking by an individual,  it has been hard to keep up with all the recent attempts as many other Nigerians have tried to add their names to the book by breaking a record. Some like Philip Solomon (GWR holder for the most skips on one foot in 30 seconds), Tonye Solomon (GWR holder for most steps climbed on a ladder while balancing a football on the head), Helen Williams (GWR holder of the world’s longest handmade wig, measuring 351.28 meters (1,152 ft 5 in), Clara Chizoba Kronborg, (GWR for the longest interviewing marathon with a time of 55 hours 24 seconds) were successful in their attempts. Others like Adedamilola Adeparusi, (Chef Dammy on the longest cooking marathon), and Oluwatobi Kufeji, on the longest singing marathon, were unsuccessful in their attempts.

What You Need to Know About Mary A's Bake-to-Break

Mary Afoma is a native of Nnewi South, Anambra State. The 200-level student of music at the University of Port Harcourt is also a mother and an entrepreneur. The young baker started her Bake-to-Break attempt on Wednesday, 1 May 2024, at Helena Hotels, on East-West Road, Alakahia, Port Harcourt and ended on Saturday, 4 May 2024, having cooked for 73 hours.

Noting that she had been called demeaning names for hawking cakes in school, the 27-year-old said: “From school, I have been baking for a long time, and I carry cake to school, I carry cake to the hostel to the point that my name changed to cake girl. They don’t use it in an honoring form. When they call, cake girl,  they call it in a demeaning way so that it makes me feel bad that I am selling it. I’ve gotten to the point where this is what feeds me and I cannot be ashamed of it. And I believe that carry your market on your head. If I can do something, this can be positive, you know it has to inspire people, it inspired me, I can actually take this to another level. So, this is me taking, baking, not just the cake girl…”

 

Officials of the Guinness World Record were on the ground monitoring the event. Also, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Owunari Georgewill, lecturers, and students of the University of Port Harcourt, visited the venue of the baking marathon to support and encourage Afoma.  The UNIPORT student who said she has been working together with her team noted that her attempt was officially recognized by the Guinness World Records (GWR) in December 2023. 

Who is the Current Record Holder?

The current holder, Alan Fisher, an Irish chef, surpassed the previous record of 31 hours and 16 minutes set by American Wendy Sandner on 27 September 2023. He baked for 47 hrs 21 mins 21 secs from 25 to 27 September 2023 in Matsue, Shimane, Japan. Alan, the owner and chef of an Irish restaurant in Matsue attempted this record to share Irish food and culture. For three days, he baked 487 loaves of soda bread, which was distributed for free to anyone who stopped by the restaurant.

The Guinness World Record

Guinness World Records, formerly known as The Guinness Book of Records until 1999 and previously in the United States as The Guinness Book of World Records, is a British publication released yearly. It catalogs world records spanning human accomplishments and natural world extremes. Conceived by Sir Hugh Beaver, the book was co-established by twin brothers Norris and Ross McWhirter in Fleet Street, London, in August 1955.

Mary Afoma’s attempt to beat Alan Fisher’s baking record is yet to be confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records because official inquiries are ongoing.


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