A Kenyan chef in Mombasa, Maliha Mohammed, 36, has broken the Guinness World Record for the longest cooking competition, individual category, after completing a 75-hour cooking marathon.
The chef who started cooking on Thursday, August 15, at exactly 10am to Sunday, August 18, has beaten the record set by Rickey Lumpkin of California, US, who cooked for 68 hours, 30 minutes, 1 second in December 2018.
Speaking to journalists at Kenya Bay Beach Hotel in Mombasa, Maliha, a self-made cook who crafted her talent through YouTube videos, could not hold back tears of joy when she was announced a winner.
“I thank God, my family, Pwani Oil Company and everyone who contributed to my success of bringing this title home. I am happy to be the first female chef in Africa to earn this title,” Maliha said. She clocked the 75 hours at 1.03pm Sunday.
Despite the fatigue and swollen legs due to standing for long hours, Maliha prepared over 400 recipes of Swahili cuisine and other local foods from all over the country.
She also prepared some international cuisines including more than 10 types of pizza. She also cooked mandazi, biryani, chapati, coconut beans, chicken periperi, githeri, mukimo, fried fish, bacon and some juices.
The Jaffery Academy alumna’s signature dish is Korean chicken Bulgogi. After being announced the winner, she could barely walk due to fatigue and she cried out in joy as her friends and family supported her.
"For every 12 hours, I had a break of 30 minutes for rest. I thank God for reaching this far. I am going to rest for a very long time," Maliha added. She couldn’t talk much due to fatigue.
The chef had been preparing for the competition since last year December. When rehearsing in June and July for the competition, Maliha cooked for 36 and 54 hours non-stop respectively, preparing 100 recipes in the process. Surprisingly, she has never worked in a hotel.
Pwani Oil Company’s commercial director, Mr Rajul Malde, congratulated the chef on her achievement.
“It has taken her a lot of effort and enthusiasm to achieve all this. We are hopeful that Guinness World Record will accord her a chance to travel and showcase Kenyan food to the world which will boost our tourism,” Mr Malde added.
The title will be confirmed two weeks later after Guinness World Records authenticates the videos and pictures taken throughout the 75 hours.
Her daughter, Zahara Rashid, a student at Coast Girls High School was there to support her.
“We assured her of our support and we are very proud of her because she has definitely achieved her dreams. Owning this international title is a great honour and we are waiting to celebrate together,” she said.
By setting the new world record, the chef will join a galaxy of outstanding Kenyan achievers who have featured in the Guinness Book of Records including athletes Tegla Lorupe, Paul Tergat, Daniel Komen and Samuel Wanjiru.
Another Kenyan who has featured in the world list is Joseph Love who in 1992 milked 30 cows by hand in 24 hours.
In conjunction with the event, Pwani Oil also held a 9km walk to create awareness on cornea and other eye related defects.
“Those who participated will be screened. We also want to start a cornea bank in Mombasa and also create more awareness,” Mr Malde said.
The oil company offered a full sponsorship; from video shooting, assistants that helped her in food preparation, after the Maliha’s story was highlighted in the Nation.
In April 2018, she applied for the same competition and was nominated, but she could not take part in the event held in December last year because she could not raise enough money to cater for the expenses.
She needed a person to shot the cooking competition for 75 hours, assistants to help her in food preparation, a cameraman to take photos, the food and other amenities she was supposed to use in cooking including flour, oil, gas among others.