The Culture Joint

Irish chef breaks Hilda Baci’s cooking record

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Alan Fisher, an Irish chef and owner of a restaurant in Japan, has made waves by breaking not just one but two Guinness World Records titles. His remarkable feats have captured the attention of culinary enthusiasts worldwide.

Firstly, Fisher secured the title of the longest cooking marathon (individual) by dedicating an astounding 119 hours and 57 minutes to this incredible endeavor. This impressive record surpasses the previous achievement held by Nigerian chef Hilda Baci by over 24 hours.

In addition to this culinary marathon, Alan Fisher conquered the title of the longest baking marathon (individual) with an exceptional time of 47 hours and 21 minutes. This accomplishment set a new standard, breaking the previous record held by Wendy Sandner of the United States, who managed 31 hours and 16 minutes.

What makes Alan Fisher’s achievements even more remarkable is that he undertook both record-breaking attempts consecutively. This feat involved spending over 160 hours in the kitchen, with only a little over a day of rest in between.

Alan’s Remarkable Culinary Journey

Alan Fisher’s journey to becoming a record-breaking chef is as unique as his accomplishments. His path to culinary stardom began in 2008 when he graduated from Dublin City University. Seeking a new challenge, Alan participated in an overseas graduate program that introduced Irish graduates to companies in Asia. To his surprise, he received a job offer from a company in Tokyo.

Six years later, Alan had established himself in Tokyo and had even met his future wife, who would later become his business partner. However, he felt that something was amiss. The idea of a conventional life and career felt restrictive, prompting him to seek a new challenge.

In August 2014, Alan embarked on an entrepreneurial adventure, starting his restaurant, Kyojin Stewhouse. This establishment proudly showcases the heart of Irish households with its focus on stews, soups, homemade bread, and potatoes. According to Alan, dining at Kyojin Stewhouse allows customers to experience not just the flavors of Ireland but also the warm hospitality of his home.

Alan’s Decision to Break Records

Alan Fisher’s journey to break these records was not without its challenges, and he encountered inspiration along the way. He first learned about the longest cooking marathon record in March while participating in the “I Love Ireland” festival in Tokyo. He noticed the existing record of 87 hours and 45 minutes held by Lata Tondon (India). In May, he learned that Hilda Baci had extended the record to 93 hours and 11 minutes.

At the same time, Alan was facing the financial hardships brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. He recounted the difficulties, saying, “When Omicron spread, a sudden dining-out advisory from the local government meant I lost all my reservations for the month of July 2022 and needed to take out a pandemic support loan just to pay bills.” Despite these challenges, Alan continued to persevere, using Lata and Hilda’s achievements as motivation.

The road to breaking the records presented unique difficulties. Alan had to devise a meticulous food distribution plan to prevent any food wastage. He insisted that everything prepared must be for human consumption. Additionally, he required video evidence of his record attempts, a task for which he was grateful to TSK, the local TV provider, for their assistance.

Throughout the record attempts, Alan encountered various obstacles. During the longest baking marathon, his back posed significant issues as he mixed dough by hand, causing discomfort. As the longest cooking marathon progressed, fatigue and sleepiness became challenges, particularly as he peeled approximately 300 kg of potatoes. He recounted a surreal experience of a hallucination during this intense period.

In the end, Alan’s perseverance paid off. His efforts resulted in the creation of an impressive 357 kg of soda bread and 590 kg of various dishes, equating to 3,360 portions consisting of 32 recipes. This outstanding achievement culminated in the award of two Guinness World Record certificates, signifying his place in culinary history.

Alan’s inspirational journey showcases the power of determination and the support of a community over 9,000 km from his home. His dedication to sharing the story of Irish food and culture through his remarkable achievements is a testament to the indomitable spirit of a passionate chef.

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