Following anti-Islamic tweet, Indian-origin chef Atul Kochhar no longer part of Dubai's Rang Mahal

Last Updated: Wed, Jun 13, 2018 16:35 hrs
Atul Kocchar

Dubai: Business Bay hotel JW Marriott Marquis has terminated its contract with celebrity chef Atul Kochhar following a controversial tweet, where he said "Hindus have been terrorised by Islam for 2000 years".

The hotel, which houses the Rang Mahal restaurant set up by Kochhar, said: "Following the recent comments made by Chef Atul Kochhar, we have taken the decision to end our agreement with him for Rang Mahal. With the termination of our agreement, Chef Atul will no longer be associated with the restaurant and the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai.

At the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai we pride ourselves on creating a culture of diversity and inclusion for our guests and associates across the hotel and our restaurants. We also remain committed to delivering the traditional culinary experience and high service standards that Rang Mahal is renowned for."

Michelin-star chef Atul Kochhar of the Rang Mahal restaurant at the JW Marriot Marquis hotel received flak after taking a dig at actress Priyanka Chopra for her tweet over a "Quantico" episode that portrayed Hindu nationalists as terrorists, the Khaleej Times reported on Tuesday.

"It's sad to see that you have not respected the sentiments of Hindus who have been terrorised by Islam over 2,000 years. Shame on You (sic)," Kochhar tweeted on Sunday.

He later deleted the tweet and put out an apology, saying the "major error" was "made in the heat of the moment on Sunday".

"There is no justification for my tweet ... I fully recognise my inaccuracies that Islam was founded around 1,400 years ago and I sincerely apologise. I am not Islamophobic, I deeply regret my comments that have offended many," he wrote.

JW Marriot hotel distanced itself from the chef's comments.

"We are aware of the comments made by Chef Atul Kochhar. We would like to stress that we do not share the same views as stated in the remark, nor is it a representation of the culture of diversity and inclusion that we pride ourselves on at the hotel," the hotel tweeted on Monday.

The anti-Islam tweet created a furore on the social media, with twitterati calling for firing the chef.

Responding to the hotel's tweet, a Twitter user, Irena Akbar, said: "But now that there is a clear clash of values (your tolerance vs his bigotry), how can you carry on such a relationship? His contract should be snapped."

Popular commentator and Arab journalist Khaled Almaeena tweeted: "You (Kochhar) have offended me... As a person who loves India its people no matter what their caste or creed. As a secular and liberal, it truly is a horror statement."

Some residents have said that they would boycott the restaurant.



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