Ghanaian chef apologizes after being exposed for forging Guinness World Record, says, ‘I don’t deserve to live’

Smith and his faked certificate 

Ebenezer Smith, also known as Millennium Chef Smith, who was arrested in Accra, Ghana for fabricating a Guinness World Record certificate for marathon cooking has 
apologized for his actions, saying, he doesn’t deserve to live as the shame following his action is too much for him to bear. 

Smith claimed to have cooked non-stop for 820 hours and 25 minutes from February 1 to March 6, 2024, surpassing the previous record held by Nigerian chef Hilda Baci.

However, Guinness World Records denied the validity of Smith's certificate, stating that the true record holder is Irish chef Alan Fisher, who cooked for 119 hours and 57 minutes in Japan in September 2023.

In an interview, Smith confessed to forging the certificate by editing details onto an existing GWR template he found online. He apologized for his actions, acknowledging that his sponsors invested over GH¢300,000 in his attempt.

Smith expressed remorse, saying, "I don't even deserve to live because it's too much for me to bear."

The chef was arrested following a disagreement with his sponsor, the Amadia Shopping Centre, over a breach of contract. The deception has drawn widespread condemnation on social media in Ghana.

Smith who was earlier arrested and detained at the La Police Station for the forgery made his statement of remorse during a recent interview with GHOne TV on Sunday.

However, the Public Relations Executive for GWR, Alina Polianskaya, confirmed to the BBC that the certificate was fake.

Polianskaya said, “No, this is not true at all. He does not hold the GWR title, and that is not our certificate. The current and true record holder is: The longest cooking marathon (individual) is 119hr 57 min 16 sec and was achieved by Alan Fisher (Ireland) in Matsue, Shimane, Japan, from 28 September to 3 October 2023.”

During the interview, Smith remorsefully admitted disappointment in himself for his actions.

“I’m not fine because of the news out there right now. I feel so disappointed in myself for disappointing the people of Ghana, my loved ones, and everybody around the world,” the chef said. 

He explained that his need to secure a permanent means of livelihood by showcasing his culinary skills to the world pushed him into the fraudulent act.

“As a young man growing up, I’ve been working for a couple of years in the hospitality industry, and I’ve always wanted a platform to showcase the good craft and skills that I have in me, because I’ve worked in a couple of places, both hotels and restaurants, and I feel like nothing is working out for me. I wanted a platform that I could get permanent something to do, which has to do with my profession – the culinary industry, hence the reason for this step.”

Speaking on how he embarked on the cookathon without a genuine application filed with GWR, he explained, “After Hilda Baci, I’ve been thinking about it and then all of a sudden I decided, after Efya did her singathon. I decided to take a step. Tracking the history, it has always been a sequential one, like numbers with the application reference so I ended up with the application reference of Edus Safoa and then I built something for myself.

“I have read a lot about the Guinness World Record, it’s an application process. When you apply they will give you an application reference that would enable you to know who is a current record holder and the details prior to that; your time of break, the rules, and the guidelines. So apparently, I had read all that and gotten to know the rules, the guidelines and everything, but I don’t have an application with Guinness World Record, I did not apply.”

“Like I said, I built it on Edus Safoa’s application reference. It’s not normal, it’s not logical, but it is done because if someone’s application is index number one, then somebody will be number 2.”

When asked if he sought permission from the owner of the GWR application reference he used, he said, “She has no idea.”

Smith, who initially claimed he had no idea why he sought sponsorship with a fake GWR application, later explained, “I made a few approaches because there has always been one thing about me, to reach out to the less privileged and the vulnerable.”

When asked what he had to say to the sponsors he deceived, he noted, “Words won’t be enough. I feel like at this point in time, I give my life out to them to do to me as they wish. I don’t even deserve to live because it’s too much for me to bear.”

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