No matter how much they love food, established chefs and those enrolled in culinary colleges probably can’t imagine cooking for 41 hours straight. Spending nearly two days on your feet in a hot kitchen would intimidate even the most seasoned culinary masters, but Gareth Kyle, MasterChef winner and supper club extraordinaire, decided to take on that very challenge. During Eat!, a food festival held in NewcastleGateshead, the 31-year-old Kyle cooked a wide range of dishes which were served to festival attendees and local homeless shelters. After review, Kyle is expected to set the Guinness World Record for longest cooking demonstration, which was previously 40 hours. Once the chef is awarded the world record, who knows what kind of competition he will instigate worldwide.
Kyle is a native of England who has been cooking for his entire life. Remarkably, the renowned chef is self-taught and has gained much of his notoriety through culinary competitions, making him a true self-made success story. Kyle won the MasterChef Live competition at the BBC Good Food show in 2011. He then went on to win MasterChef Champion of Champions, proving himself to be a genuine culinary legend. Kyle now organizes supper clubs and pop-up dining events, although the busy chef has many other projects in the works. He is an avid food writer and teacher of the culinary arts. Kyle also recently launched a street food concept dubbed “A Street Food Named Desire.”
The chef began cooking breakfast around 4:30 a.m. to initiate his culinary feat. The Guinness Book of World Records mandates that all the food must be consumed for Kyle to earn the title of longest cooking demonstration, so he served food to weary festival workers and late night pub dwellers. His cooking exploits were also subject to a live feed so officials could constantly monitor his progress and make sure he adhered to the rules. Furthermore, the chef was allowed a five minute break every hour, giving him time to sit and recover. However, in an interesting strategy, Kyle instead stockpiled his breaks for 12 hours at a time, allowing himself an hour break whenever the time accumulated. During the 41 hour stint, Kyle did not sleep.
The chef made around 100 different dishes over the 41 hour duration. Lucky festival goers and miscellaneous pedestrians were gifted with culinary gems such as duck confit, freshly baked bread, chicken casserole and pizza. During his demo, enthusiastic eaters flooded the scene both to enjoy the chef’s culinary offerings and cheer him on through a long night and following day. Kyle also worked closely with The People’s Kitchen in Newcastle to deliver food to the homeless. Festival goers passing by who had the privilege of enjoying Kyle’s food were encouraged to donate to the charity.
Eat! is a regional festival known for its culinary creativity. Kyle is local to the area and was the winner of the 2012 EAT! NewcastleGateshead Trial Shift Competition, so it’s no surprise the chef chose this event to set his prestigious record. The festival looks to showcase local sources of great food, emphasize farm-to-table practices and introduce children to healthy eating habits. Besides the abundant culinary offerings, the festival features live music and local arts.
Whether Kyle will be challenged by other chefs is yet to be seen. The record not only gives Kyle bragging rights, but also brought him international attention in the food community. Perhaps the chef has set a bold precedent for others looking to showcase their indefatigable prowess in the kitchen.