Following a series of tweets that were considered anti-Islamic, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, the hotel that houses Kochhar’s restaurant has cut ties with the chef.
Bill Keffer, general manager, JW Marriott Marquis said in a statement: “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.”
The issue erupted when Kochhar replied to a tweet by Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, who was apologising about a sensitive episode in the TV series, Quantico.
In the now deleted tweet, Kocchar said: “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.”
He later deleted the tweet and posted an apology on twitter on 11 June stating “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.”
The chef received major backlash on social media and tweeted another apology on 12 June 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.”