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Chef Dammy

21.10.2023 Featured INSIDER: How, Why Chef Dammy Fell Out With Pastor and Church After Fame

Published 21st Oct, 2023

By Abimbola Abatta

Damilola Adeparusi, also known as Chef Dammy, said on her Instagram page on Thursday that Pastor Adegoke Jeremiah of Spirit Word Global Mission should be held responsible if anything happened to her.

This post came on the heels of a 120-hour cooking marathon she held in partnership with the Spirit Word Global Mission from June 9 to 13, 2023.

The 400-level mass communication student of the Federal University Oye (FUOYE), Ekiti, wrote, “I’ll be having an interview in Lagos soon. And I’m ready to let everything out once I get back. But in case anything happens to me; Adegoke Jeremiah, A.K.A Billion Dollars Prophet, hold him responsible. He told me to prepare for war and we are both on it.”

Just as Nigerians received the news of her cooking marathon with mixed feelings amid reports that she was attempting to break Hilda Bacci’s yet-to-be-confirmed Guinness World Record (GWR) for the longest cooking by an individual, controversies have trailed her recent post.

Chef Dammy's post on Instagram
The post on her Instagram story

READ ALSO: Guinness World Records Aware of Chef Dammy’s Cooking Marathon, Willing to Review Evidence

FIJ understands that Chef Dammy was a member of the Spirit Word Global Mission at the time of the cooking marathon. When she made the news for the cooking marathon, there were claims that Pastor Jeremiah was using her for financial gains and fame.

INSIDER

A man who took part in the cooking marathon from inception told FIJ that it was only an extension of one of the activities often organised by the church.

“When we resumed last semester, the church leadership listed out the plans for the semester, and among it was a drama competition, a singing competition, a cooking competition and others, which only the members would participate in as usual,” he said.

The source said the church was divided into about seven groups ahead of its in-house competitions for the semester, and when it was time for the cooking competition, Damilola and a male member were nominated to represent her group.

“All the group members would contribute to get the food stuff they wanted to cook and each group would nominate two representatives for the competition,” she said.

“However, a few days before it started, the church leadership changed the competition to ‘Weekend With My Chef’ but still maintained that all food prepared would be made available for free to the members.

“About two days to the competition, the whole thing was changed again to a 40-hour cook-a-thon, but the food wouldn’t be free anymore. It would be sold for N500 per plate.

“Then it changed completely from a competition to a business opportunity. The competition started and food started getting sold for N500. There were no judges who would taste the food and pick the winner of the competition again.”

Chef Dammy
Chef Dammy

The source said Chef Dammy made it to the forefront of the cooking crew out of the two people nominated for her group.

“We started creating awareness and all. A lot of people came to eat for N500 per plate. From Friday evening till Sunday evening, it was a massive success. At the end of the day, no winners, but there were lots of profits,” said the source.

He said the church’s leadership started to contemplate the idea of hosting a 120-hour cook-a-thon on a WhatsApp group. The source believes this was due to the massive sales and profit during the previous 40-hour cook-a-thon.

He said church leaders opted to vote for the main chef in this 120-hour marathon and Chef Dammy secured the majority of the votes.

THE PLAN

FIJ learned that the plan was for the cook-a-thon to start that week’s Friday at 12 am, where food would be free for the first 24 hours as a form of advertisement. A plate of food would later be sold for N1000 from the second day until the end of the event.

“First day came and went, everything Dammy was cooking was given out for free to the people who came,” said the source.

“Then the second day came. It was Saturday, and they started selling entrance tickets for N1000.

“People started complaining and saying Hilda Baci didn’t charge money. However, some who could afford it paid the money and were allowed to go in. They were also served Dammy’s latest food,” the source said.

He said some of those who paid to enter could not eat until they left because the chef’s delicacies could not go round.

“What Dammy was cooking wasn’t really much in quantity. People weren’t allowed to go in without paying. Then a lot of people started dragging the church, Dammy and the cook-a-thon online,” the source told FIJ.

“It was so bad that the church eventually had to stop selling tickets. Then entrance was made free. At this point, the church’s plan for the cook-a-thon, which was profit maximisation, was looking defeated as ticket sales was off.

“Then we started soliciting financial support from people, and they donated raw food stuff, a goat, petrol and gas cylinders. Money was sent to the pastor’s account. It really helped, and the cook-a-thon ended.”

‘DAMMY WANTED HER LIFE BACK’

FIJ gathered that at this point, the organisers of the cooking marathon had taken over Chef Dammy’s phone and debit card.

“She was restricted, as her phone and ATM card were with the organisers of the cook-a-thon. A lot of people couldn’t reach her by phone calls and she couldn’t reply her social media messages also,” the source said.

“She personally told me that she wasn’t enjoying herself anymore and that she wanted to go back to her previous life, where she had her freedom.”

The source said even when Chef Dammy expressed her desire to Pastor Jeremiah, she was told that the new life was better than her past one.

“She unhappily accepted to continue being restricted,” said the source.

Chef Dammy's pastor
The pastor

‘THE ORGANISERS GOT ANGRY’

The source revealed that just three days after the popular cook-a-thon, which was Chef Dammy’s second within a short period, the church began to prepare for a new 150-hour cook-a-thon to be handled by the same chef.

“They said Ekiti State wanted to provide all logistics and support, so the church would gain a lot from it, especially financial gains, and they would ‘ride cars before this year ends,”‘ the source told FIJ.

“Dammy didn’t want to do another cook-a-thon as she was even yet to recover from the one she had just finished. Her family also immediately rejected that proposal, which got the church organisers angry.

“Days after, Dammy’s family went to report to the Ekiti State Government that they couldn’t access their child anymore, and that she had been kidnapped by the organisers.

“The organisers were summoned to Ado, where they asked Dammy if she was happy doing all what she was doing and she said no. A lot transpired; the organisers were called thieves, manipulators, kidnappers and others.

“A lawyer in the meeting said it was wrong for them to use Dammy for the cook-a-thon without the consent of her family. The organisers were asked to apologise to the family and they all did.”

The source also said Chef Dammy joined the church in apologising to her family by kneeling down.

“In fact, Dammy sat with the church during the meeting, and not with her family. She loved the church, but she didn’t want what they were making her do,” said the source.

FIJ gathered that the organisers were then ordered to leave Dammy alone and stop managing her. It was also said that the passwords to all her social media accounts be returned to her with a warning that she no longer be taken for interviews.

The instructions were accompanied with a warning that all the organisers would be locked up by the Department of State Service (DSS) if they failed to comply.

READ ALSO: FACT-CHECK: Chef Dammy Needs to Wait a Year to Break Hilda’s Record?

THE CHURCH WAS ANGRY TOO

“The church was angry. We the members all ranted, complained and shouted because we’d only heard the church’s side of the story. We hadn’t heard from Dammy. A lot of people and I immediately pitched tent with the church,” revealed the source.

However, after hearing Dammy’s side of the incident, the source said, he observed discrepancies in the pastor’s account of the meeting with the government and realised that Dammy was not at fault.

“The only thing I blamed her for during the meeting was that she didn’t defend the church when they were being called thieves, manipulators, kidnappers and others, and she took the blame,” the source told FIJ.

“Some of us in the church who had listened to both sides didn’t join the church to hate Dammy as they wanted. While we were still looking for the way forward, they heard that Dammy had transferred N500,000 to her mum and N200,000 to her elder brother out of the N1.2 million in her own account. The church became angry.

“The money in her account was from donations of people during and after the cook-a-thon. Meanwhile, the church bought iPhones for her and her assistant after the cook-a-thon. They also got an iWatch for her and asked her to remove N200,000 from the money in her account to change her wardrobe. She hadn’t removed the money when issues started.

“When they heard that she had transferred N700,000 to her family, they started asking why she would do that. Truly, her family didn’t drop a penny to support the cook-a-thon.”

The source said that the incident marked the genesis of the fight between the church and Chef Dammy.

He mentioned that despite the church’s assertion that the money sent to her family wasn’t the cause of its displeasure, it was indeed the real issue. He also said that though he told Dammy that she did right by giving her family some money, he faulted the timing.

“She could have invested the money in herself first, and she would have been able to give her family five times that amount in six months, after she had been established. She agreed truly that she made a mistake,” the source said.

CURSES, INSULTS AND BULLYING FROM THE CHURCH

Amid the hostility arising from the money Chef Dammy sent to her family, she became a victim of curses, insults and bullying on the church’s WhatsApp group.

The source said it was so terrible that Dammy had to exit the church group.

“I understand that people were angry, and I supported them airing their displeasure to Dammy, but I wouldn’t and didn’t support the curses, threats, physical insults on her and her mum on a church group. It was too much,” said the source.

“She might have made a mistake, but it shouldn’t be to that extent at all. I mean this is a church and we shouldn’t be happy to lose a member like Dammy. She was the best vocalist in our choir and one of the most decent ladies in our church. It shouldn’t lead to how the church handled the whole thing.

“I mean executives, the presidents, VP and all were cursing this girl and her generation. It was terrible, and the pastor was there sending laughing stickers to encourage the mobs attacking her. It was that bad! A church should have handled the issues better.

“Dammy exited the groups and left the church eventually. But before she left, she was bullied, cursed and insulted by the church members, instigated by the pastor on the church’s WhatsApp group.”

Curses from church members
Curses from church members
Curses from church members

According to the source, the church wanted its members to stop associating or talking with Dammy, and those who refused to stop interacting with her were also insulted and accused of rebellion.

FIJ could not reach Chef Dammy for comments as calls to her were not answered and the messages sent to her had not been responded to at press time.

When FIJ contacted the pastor on Saturday, he said he had nothing to say.

“I have seen everything online. I really do not have anything to say. My lawyers will make a statement. Thank you very much for calling,” he said.

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Published 21st Oct, 2023

By Abimbola Abatta

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