Lata Tandon: Meet The First Woman Who Did Marathon Cooking
Image Credit: Lata Tandon

Lata Tandon, a chef from Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, recently set a new Guinness World Record - cooking for 87 hours and 45 minutes non-stop. She became the first woman in the world to accomplish this feat. The world record for the longest cooking marathon previously belonged to Rickey Lumpkin from Los Angeles, California, USA, at 68 hours, 30 minutes, and 1 second. Lata Tondon, a London-based chef, wanted to become the first Indian woman to hold the world record.

After winning the prestigious record, Chef Lata Tandon said she had been fascinated with cooking since childhood and was thankful to be among supportive family and friends who helped turn her passion into a profession. She is very fond of cooking traditional meals, but she also enjoys exploring regional flavors and cooking methods and getting to know about unknown ingredients from every corner of India. She wants to change the perception of Indian cuisine through the meals she cooks and hopes to expand Indian cuisine abroad.

Chef Lata Tandon is getting ready to release a book that will showcase neglected cuisines and ingredients from all over India. She intends to open a restaurant in London in the near future that will serve Indian cuisine from lesser-known regions of India. Her goal is to provide a new perspective on Indian cuisine, which is not as common as it should be. Chef Lata is a dedicated globetrotter who has traveled across India in search of hidden local flavors. She has journeyed thousands of miles to discover new and unappreciated aspects of Indian cuisine.

What did she cook for the title?

Chef Lata cooked more than 1,600 kg of food, 400 vada pavs, 250 sandwiches, and other local delicacies over four days. Chef Lata encouraged people to purchase and plant over 17,000 saplings during the successful event. Over 20,000 visitors attended the event, including children from orphanages and blind schools and members of old-age homes. 

Some of her earlier achievements

Lata has won several awards in the culinary industry, including International Indian Chef of the Year in 2018. She is an alumna of the Chef Academy of London. She honed her culinary skills in a variety of exotic cuisines. She has worked with renowned chefs such as Cloud Bosi and Jun Tanaka at Bibendum, where she has gained vital skills.

She holds a number of other national and international awards, including the India Book of Records, the Asia Book of Records, the Indo-China Book of Records, the Vietnam Book of Records, the Laos Book of Records, and the Nepal Book of Records, to name a few. She also won the International Indian Chef of the Year award in 2018.

Lata Tandon was born in a Sindhi family in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, on April 15, 1980. That place is well known for white tigers, and she is no less than a tigress herself. Her creative mind and love for food came from her grandfather, who taught her about food ingredients, how to buy them, and how to evaluate them, so cooking became her passion right from her childhood. She gives credit for her cooking skills to her mother, who is a terrific cook herself. Her mother-in-law was also an amazing cook. Lata is a mother too, and even with all the responsibilities of her household, she balances the pursuit of her career as a chef deftly.

She worked in London under the direction of renowned chefs like Claude Bosi, Jun Tunaka, Pips, Dale, Maxx, Paris, and many more. She worked in Michelin-starred restaurants such as Bibendum in South Kensington, Aqua Shard in the Shard Building, The Ninth in central London, etc. She has taken masterclasses from Chef Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver, among others. She was honored with a PhD degree for her achievement from the World Record University in London.

Lata came back to India determined to make her country proud and attempted the most difficult and longest cooking marathon in the world. Her family was hesitant because of her health issues and difficulties, but she managed to win them over after a year of regular exercise, yoga, and gym training. She was determined to set a world record by standing for 50 hours. However, Guinness World Records again increased the duration to 68 hours and 30 minutes. Despite her family’s objections, she went ahead anyway. She made the country and the world proud of her by clocking 87 hours and 45 minutes of non-stop cooking!