Alan Fisher, chef patron of Kyojin Stewhouse in Matsue, Japan has set the new Guinness World Record for the longest cooking marathon by an individual, smashing the previous record by more than 24 hours, and just a day later he baked his way to another global best.
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Fisher, who founded his Irish-inspired restaurant in the Japanese capital in 2014, became aware of cooking marathons earlier this year while working gruelling hours in a rented kitchen car at Tokyo’s I Love Ireland festival in March.
At the time, Indian Lata Tondon held the record of 87 hours and 45 minutes. By May it had then been eclipsed by Nigerian Hilda Baci’s effort of 93 hours and 11 minutes behind the stove.
Having had an immensely difficult few years before, due to the restrictions Covid-19 placed on hospitality businesses, Fisher decided it would be a good project to attempt the record himself.
Cooking an array of soups and stews, Fisher undertook the mammoth cooking session.
“Everything must be for human consumption,” he explained. “My attempt would only be successful if the people of Matsue got behind what I was doing and showed up to support the challenge.”
And show up they did, with local TV channel TSK filming the kitchen marathon, a requirement for the record to be confirmed.
“I peeled roughly 300 kilograms of potatoes during the cooking marathon. For the first few days, I would look forward to this each evening as it gave me a chance to sit down.”
“Towards the end of the cooking marathon however, as fatigue started to take hold I would find it more and more difficult to stay awake whenever I sat down to start peeling. The rhythm of the peeling would almost hypnotise me. I had one hallucination on the second-to-last day. I turned to ask someone to pass me something, like I would on any normal day only to realize there was no one there…It got to the point where I definitely couldn’t give up. In my mind, I was representing myself, my family, and Irish food, and through these attempts, I was sharing our story.”
His efforts were not in vain, as he set a new time of 119 hours and 57 minutes, just shy of five days of continuous cooking.
With just a day of rest in between, and not content with having cooked for enough time to watch the extended edition of the Lord of the Rings trilogy 10 and a half times, Fisher then claimed a second record, baking continuously for 47 hours and 21 minutes, significantly above the previous record of 31 hours and 16 minutes.
All in all, after almost 170 hours of chopping, mixing, stewing and baking, Fisher produced 357kg of soda bread and 590kg of dishes (about 3,360 portions of 32 recipes in total).
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This article was originally published by the drinks business and has been shared with permission.