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Celebrity chef Atul Kochhar.

PHOTO BY TWITTER


Dubai hotel cuts ties with Chef Atul over controversial tweet

 

DUBAI – Dubai’s JW Marriott Marquis Hotel has cut ties with celebrity chef Atul Kochhar after his controversial tweet sparked outrage on social media.

Kochhar operated the five-star hotel’s award-winning Rang Mahal Indian restaurant, which has since been threatened with booking cancellations from diners after the Michelin-starred chef appeared to blame Islam for “terrorising Hindus”.

“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.

“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,” Keffer said.

Kochhar on Tuesday issued a second apology 48 hours after his Twitter response to actress Priyanka Chopra. In a statement on the social media platform, Kochhar said he would like to “apologise unreservely” for his “insensitive and wrong” tweet.

Kochhar got himself into controversy after he called out Chopra, who apologised after social media furore over her recent TV show that portrayed a Hindu group as terrorists.

In his now deleted tweet, Kochhar responded to Chopra’s apology by saying, “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.”

His tweet sparked a flurry of angry comments online, forcing the chef to retract the tweet that he said was a “major error made in the heat of the moment.”

Howver, he infuriated more people by adding: “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.”

Social media users, including Twitter user Masarat Daut, accused the Dubai-based chef for what they said was a half-hearted apology that focused on “getting the Islamic date wrong, but not for his bigotry”.

Others also vowed to boycott his restaurants.

“I am never going to visit any of your food outlets. Your apology is just to save your restaurants and money. Priyanka’s views on terrorism was reel but your views are real,” said Twitter user Fehmeenavoice. GAD/Expat Media

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