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JW Marriott terminates Chef Atul Kochhar contract after anti-Islam tweet

The Indian Express logo The Indian Express 13/06/2018
Atul Kochhar wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: The hotel that Atul Kochhar works for, meanwhile, has distanced itself from the chef's comments. (File Photo) © express web desk The hotel that Atul Kochhar works for, meanwhile, has distanced itself from the chef's comments. (File Photo)

Dubai's JW Marriott Marquis Hotel terminated its agreement with Chef Atul Kochhar who operates an Indian restaurant inside its premises after he was accused of Islamophobia.

“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 tabloid.

The Michelin-starred chef operated Rang Mahal, an award-winning Indian restaurant, at JW Marriott's Dubai property.

“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.”

Kochhar accused Quantico star Priyanka Chopra of not respecting the sentiments of Hindus "who have been terrorised by Islam over 2000 years."

“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 tweeted in reply to Chopra's apology over the show's portrayal of a Hindu nationalist group as terrorists.

He deleted his tweet following outrage on the micro-blogging site. Kochhar also apologised for his "insensitive and wrong" remarks.

“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,” Kochhar said.

Kochhar added, “My work and my restaurant 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.”

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