Top Dubai Hotel Cuts Ties With Celebrity Chef Atul Kochhar Over Controversial Tweets

| June 13 , 2018 , 14:58 IST

A Dubai’s JW Marriott Marquis Hotel has cut off ties with Michelin-starred celebrity chef Atul Kochhar, media reported on Wednesday, after an inflammatory tweet of the chef caused controversy on social media. Chef Kochhar had operated the award-winning Rang Mahal Indian restaurant at the hotel.

“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,” Bill Keffer, general manager of JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai said in an emailed statement to Gulf News.

“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,” the statement continued.

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Kochhar landed into a controversy over two of his tweets, the first of which was directed towards Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra over an episode of her TV show Quantico that portrayed a Hindu nationalist group as terrorists.

In a tweet deleted later on, Kochhar said to Priyanka, “It’s sad to see that you have not respected the sentiments of Hindus who have been terrorised by Islam over 2000 years. Shame on you.”

As controversy arose after the tweet, Kochhar issued an apology over his “major error" which he termed was misdating the foundation of Islam.

“There is no justification for my tweet, a major error made in the heat of the moment on Sunday. 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,” tweeted Kochhar, creating further controversy over his apology of dating instead of his alleged bigotry.

Kochhar apologised once again in a fresh tweet on Tuesday, saying "I would like to apologise unreservedly to my Muslim friends, the Islamic community and everyone I have offended with my recent tweets. They were insensitive and wrong. My work and my restaurants are defined by a passion to unite cultures through food, love and understanding. I have let myself and my colleagues down. I am upset and sorry for the pain I have caused and ask for your forgiveness."