From a small village in Dublin, Ireland, Alan Fisher claimed the kitchen ladder and became the reigning Guinness World Record holder for the longest cooking marathon by an individual.
The internet was abuzz with his name as soon as the Guinness World Records broke the news that he had dethroned Nigeria’s Hilda Baci to clinch the exalted title. Fisher cooked for 119 hours and 57 minutes as against Hilda’s 93 hours and 11 minutes.
Fisher became the Guinness World Record holder for the longest cooking marathon by an individual. Photo credit: Instagram/@hildabaci and @alanfisher.Source: Instagram
Hilda dethroned by Fisher
The Guinness World Records said in a viral Tweet:
“Nigerian cooking queen Hilda Baci has been dethroned. Alan Fisher from Ireland cooked for an incredible 119 hours and 57 minutes at his restaurant in Japan.”
TheTalk.NG had an exclusive interview with Fisher, and he narrated his journey to the top. Speaking on his background, Fisher said:
“I grew up in a small town called Dundalk, on Ireland’s east coast, County Louth. It sits roughly one hour north of Dublin and one hour south of Belfast and is only a short drive to the border with Northern Ireland. Actually, President Biden visited Dundalk earlier this year to reconnect with his own family roots in the Cooley peninsula.”
No particular cooking experience as kid
With his achievement, one would wonder if Fisher had any background in running a restaurant when he was growing up. He had no particular cooking experience as a child, but he said he watched his mother and grandmother as they made some cultural dishes. He said starting a restaurant was his own way of reconnecting to his roots. Though he lives father away in Japan, he has fond memories of his home.
“The path I’ve followed has led me so far away from the place I carry in my heart so gladly. Food is my connection to home though. Over the years I’ve started to associate different memories to certain food dishes. For instance, countless times, I’ve waited beside my mother as she cooked potato bread on a cast iron pan in our kitchen, butter in hand. Not country butter though, thats the really high-fat stuff that my grandmother would have sitting out on the table. It was a bit too strong for me as a child. I remember getting a little on my finger and I was traumatized. I’d love to go back in time and try some now though. Although, thats not the main food I connect to my grandmother. That’s Smoked Cod, mashed potatoes and parsley sauce. Every Friday after school. My brother and I would sit at the table until it was finished. No exceptions. To this day we’d laugh about it. But, I’d say it grew on us.”
Fisher said he misses his family where he is in Japan, and he spoke glowing of his father and how he is from a large family.
He told TheTalk.NG:
“My father comes from a large family, 7 brothers and 5 sisters. When I do get home, I look forward to hearing their stories most of all. Dinner time with 12 at the table. He would often tell me ways they’d stretch a meal. All of whom are still with us, thankfully, and I’ve extended family dotted all over the world. In fact, my only brother lives in Canada. Seven years since we last met in person. I get so distracted by the massive workload I’m often faced with that I don’t reach out as much as I should. I hope they know I carry them all with me in my heart. The many lessons, the humour, the love, the memories, good and bad. I hope they take pride in what I’ve been trying to do here in Japan. I think food is a great way to share Irish culture, and it keeps me connected to home.”
Starting a restaurant in Japan
Fisher had to battle with many things when he and his wife started the Kyojin Stewhouse restaurant in Tokyo, Japan. One of the things they battled with was space. At some point, they had to look for a new place.
“The restaurant Kyojin Stewhouse was the first step. I didn’t have much money so I found a small location within my budget that had some decent footfall. Togoshi Ginza is the longest Shotengai or Market Street in Tokyo. End to end it’s 1.6kms. I know because we were situated on one end and I often needed to walk to the other where the nearest train station is located. Not the most convenient spot, but I figured, if I can make it work there then I can make it work anywhere.
“Unfortunately, our space in Togoshi Ginza was too small. It was clear that we needed to move. We considered a few different places but settled on Matsue because of the historical Irish Cultural connection. We moved to Matsue in February 2021. My wife and I do like it here. Of course, there is many things I miss about Tokyo but Matsue reminds me of home and the people have been very kind and welcoming.”
Picking up a new challenge
When he decided to do the Guinness World Records cooking and baking marathon, Fisher knew there would be challenges. The biggest challenge, according to him, was physical because tiredness set in a few hours into the marathon.
He described what he felt to TheTalk.NG:
“The first big hurdle came roughly 11 or 12 hours into the Baking Marathon. I’d been standing constantly mixing dough by hand which also distorted my posture. My back was getting tight and sore. So much so, that I did start to wonder if this was physically possible. Looking back, this was the most physically challenging part of either marathon.”
Victory at last
On how he felt when it was finally certain he had achieved his aim of becoming a world record holder, Fisher said he was proud.
“A proud moment for sure. A little relieved too. Records are made to be broken but for today at least, I can hold both. So many sleepless nights, early mornings, anxieties and financial stress to keep the business alive. Often tired, sick, homesick, injured or exhausted. Just head down and persevere. Breaking these records is a fitting way to share our story and create a little awareness about the Irish connection here in Matsue, Japan.”
Fisher drew inspiration from Hilda Baci
Chef Fisher confirmed to TheTalk.NG that he drew a lot of inspiration from Hilda Baci, who he said set the kitchen bar so high.
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“Hilda’s achievement lives on through the thousands of people she has inspired. Nothing but respect to anyone who is willing to work hard to chase their dream. Thanks for setting the bar so high. I hope people will be inspired to challenge my records too.”
Hilda Baci reacts to Alan Fisher’s achievement
Meanwhile, TheTalk.NG had reported that Hilda Baci congratulated Alan Fisher on breaking her record. She wished him well.
The top-rated chef released a tweet, saying Fisher’s achievement was no small feat.
“Huge congratulations to Alan Fisher! 119hrs 57mins is a huge achievement, and I wish him all the best as the new world record holder!”
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