Self-taught chef Maliha Mohammed bested the standing record of 68.5 hours.

By Adam Campbell-Schmitt
August 21, 2019

For most of us home cooks, Thanksgiving is probably about as close as we'll get to marathon-level stints in front of the stove. But if you love cooking — I mean really love cooking — and you have your sights set on netting a world record, you'd have to cook from Turkey Day well into the weekend (and miss all those Black Friday sales in between!). That's the feat recently completed by Kenya's Maliha Mohammed a self-taught chef who just attempted to break the individual record for most consecutive hours spent cooking.

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Mohammed started cooking at the Kenya Bay Beach Resort in Mombasa on Friday, August 15 at 10 a.m. finally finishing her 75-hour ordeal on Sunday, August 18 at 1 p.m. Throughout the three days, Mohammed cooked 400 dishes including "traditional Swahili foods like coconut beans, fried fish, mandazi (fried bread), mukimo (mashed potatoes and green vegetables) amd githeri (corn and beans)—as well as international cuisine, like Indian biryani and chapati, Portuguese chicken peri peri and more than 10 different types of pizza," Newsweek reports. The reigning record of 68 hours, 30 minutes, and one second was set in Los Angeles by Rickey Lumpkin II on April 7, 2018.

"I am happy to be the first female chef in Africa to earn this title," Mohammed told Kenya's Daily Nation. "I thank God for reaching this far. I am going to rest for a very long time." Mohammed trained for this month's attempt with 36- and 54-hour practice runs. The food Mohammed prepared was offered to charitable organizations.

Watch below for footage of Mohammed cooking, as well as interviews with a representative from the cooking oil company that sponsored the event and Mohammed's daughter:

Of course, there's more to setting a record than just starting to cook for 75 hours on a whim. Mohammed made a previous attempt in 2018 but didn't have enough financial backing to afford the food, assistance, and camera crew necessary to validate her efforts. Plus, there are parameters and rules around these kinds of feats. Some of the qualifications, as provided by Guinness World Records, include:

  • The challenger must demonstrate that the food has been prepared according to local food hygiene standard laws - for example, by preparing the food in the presence of an appropriate inspector.
  • After the attempt, the food items must be divided and distributed or donated for general consumption by humans.
  • There must be at least two items being prepared/cooked at any time.
  • The attempt starts as soon as the first food item is either prepared or has started cooking.

Additionally, Kenyan news outlet Daily Nation reports that Mohammed was allowed a 30-minute break every 12 hours to freshen up.

But Mohammed's record isn't an official Guinness World Record just yet. That organization, tasked with legitimizing such things, is on the case, however. A spokesperson told me via email that Mohammed's application and the provided evidence is currently under review.

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