Indian-Origin Michelin Star Chef in Soup Over Tweet on Islam
Atul Kochhar, the head chef at a restaurant at Dubai's JW Marriot Marquis hotel, deleted the post, and apologized for the tweet after it was criticized for being “anti-Islam.”
The controversial Quantico episode, which showed Hindus hatching a terror plot in the United States to frame Pakistan, continues to draw blood. Now, Indian-origin Michelin star chef Atul Kochhar is facing heat for a tweet he wrote, addressing actor Priyanka Chopra over the issue.
Kochhar, the head chef at Rang Mahal, a popular restaurant at the JW Marriot Marquis hotel in Dubai, later deleted the post. He also apologized for the tweet, which was published on June 10, after it was criticized for being “anti-Islam.”
Kochhar posted an apology, saying the “major error” was “made in heat of the moment.”
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.
— Atul Kochhar (@atulkochhar) June 11, 2018
Kochhar had earlier slammed the Indian actress for starring in an episode that portrayed Hindu nationalists as terrorists. “It’s sad to see that you have not respected the sentiments of Hindus who have been terrorized by Islam over 2,000 years. Shame on You (sic),” he tweeted.
The JW Marriot, in a tweet posted on June 11, distanced itself from Kochhar’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.
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.
— JW Marriott Marquis (@JWDubaiMarquis) June 11, 2018
Social media users have also been asking the hotel to fire him.
A Twitter user Irena Akbar pointed out the chasm between the hotel’s “tolerance” and his “bigotry.” She tweeted: “But now that there is a clear clash of values (your tolerance vs his bigotry), how can you carry on such a relationship? His contract should be snapped.”
@JWDubaiMarquis please look into your contract with Atul Kochhar.
He makes iftar in your hotel but hates Muslims and Islam in public.
Your employment of him kind of endorses his views. Hope you take strict disciplinary actions. pic.twitter.com/8TWZOPRNzw
— Kamran Shahid (@iKamranShahid) June 10, 2018
Been wanting to go to @Benaresofficial and have it on my ‘list of restaurants to visit’ because they serve halal food but will never step foot in there, following the vitriolic Islamophobia displayed by @atulkochhar #BoycottBenares
— Fatima (@FBRajina) June 10, 2018
Some Twitter users also called for a boycott of the restaurant. A Twitter user said: “You don’t need to be profiting of “terrorists” right? Stop serving halal food at Benares. I for one will never be eating there again. You sound like an extremist and you are everything that is wrong with the world.”
I am appalled that your hotel allows @atulkochhar to operate his restaurant while he spews such bile and hatred against Islam and Muslims – I will not be staying at your hotel again until he apologises unreservedly.
— Imran Waheed (@drimranwaheed) June 10, 2018
Another user asked the chef to check his facts, as Islam is only 1,400 years old while someone pointed out that Kochhar’s apology seems to be over the inaccuracy of calling Islam 2,000 years old rather than his bigotry.
Given Islam has only existed for 1400 years you may want to learn history. Last time I eat at one of your restaurants. Happy to serve halal and take our money. No more.
— R H Dhalla (@husein_110) June 10, 2018
Enough is enough. @atulkochhar has apologised for getting the Islamic date wrong, but not for his bigotry (!). The toxic anti-Muslim climate in India is encouraging these bigots to crawl out of the woodworks. But globally, this bigotry will not go unnoticed.
— Masarat Daud (@masarat) June 11, 2018
A restaurant finder app, Halal Gems, has removed the Benares restaurant from its list of recommendations on the app as well as its four guides, saying it won’t be promoting any restaurant “associated with Atul Kochhar.”
For those asking, please read our official statement regarding @atulkochhar’s tweets.
— Halal Gems (@HalalGems) June 11, 2018