Dubai: JW Marriot fires chef Atul Kochhar over anti-Islam tweet


Dubai, Jun 13 (Agencies): Dubai chef Atul Kochhar's services with JW Marriot Marquis have been terminated, an official statement released by hotel chain revealed.

JW Marriot Marquis in Dubai today released a termination letter after Kochhar made Islamophobic remarks in response to a tweet posted by Priyanka Chopra.

The Michelin-starred chef operated the award-winning Rang Mahal India restaurant at Dubai’s JW Marriot Marquis Hotel.

Bill Keffer, the general manager of JW Marriott Marquis Hotel was quoted saying by Gulf News: “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.”

The statement further said: "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."


Earlier Report

Dubai: Call for sacking of Indian-origin chef in UAE after anti-Islam tweet

Dubai, Jun 13 (PTI): A popular Indian-origin chef in the United Arab Emirates has landed in a controversy after he allegedly posted an anti-Islam tweet, triggering calls for his sacking, a media report said on Tuesday.

Atul Kochhar, a Michelin-Star chef well known here for his Rang Mahal Indian restaurant at the JW Marriott Marquis hotel, received flak after taking a dig at Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra for her tweet over an episode in American television series 'Quantico' that purportedly portrayed Hindu nationalists as terrorists, the Khaleej Times reported.

"It's sad to see that you (Priyanka) have not respected the sentiments of Hindus who have been terrorized by Islam over 2000 years. Shame on You (sic)," Kochhar tweeted.

He later deleted the tweet and apologised for the "major error" that was "made in the heat of the moment on Sunday", the paper said.

"There is no justification for my tweet ... I fully recognise my inaccuracies that Islam was founded round 1400 years ago and I sincerely apologise. I am not Islamophobic, I deeply regret my comments that have offended many," Kochhar tweeted yesterday.

The anti-Islam tweet created a furore on social media, with twitterati calling for firing the chef. 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 said they would boycott the restaurant. "Chef celebrity showed his true colours. I won't eat here after reading the racist tweets by the head chef," a UAE resident posted on his Facebook page.

"I have cancelled my wedding anniversary meal for next month at your restaurant. You knew exactly what you meant as you tweeted that message," another Twitter user added.

JW Marriot hotel, however, 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 yesterday.