Michelin-starred chef is sacked from Dubai hotel for tweet about Islam

Michelin-starred chef is sacked from Dubai hotel for tweet aimed at actress Priyanka Chopra’s TV show claiming Muslims have terrorised Hindus ‘over 2,000 years’

  • Masterchef’s Atul Kochhar now sacked by Dubai’s JW Marriott Marquis Hotel  
  • Kochhar, who runs Benares in Mayfair, had said Islam ‘terrorized’ Hindus in India
  • He was criticising actress and close friend of Meghan Markle Priyanka Chopra
  • Chopra had spoken out over a controversial plot line in her US series Quantico

A top London chef who tweeted that Islam has ‘terrorised’ Hindus for ‘over 2,000 years’ has been sacked by a Dubai hotel.

Masterchef’s Atul Kochhar had previously issued a grovelling apology after he became embroiled in a Twitter row with one of Meghan Markle’s closest friends, the actress Priyanka Chopra. 

Kochhar publicly berated Priyanka for apologising about a controversial plot line in her US TV series Quantico which caused anger in India.

His Tweet, which was quickly seen as anti-Islamic, caused global outrage and there were calls to boycott his restaurants. 


Top London chef Atul Kochhar (left) has issued a grovelling apology after he became embroiled in a Twitter row with one of Meghan Markle’s closest friends, the actress Priyanka Chopra (right)

Masterchef’s Atul Kochhar publicly berated Priyanka (pictured with Meghan Markle) for apologising for a controversial plot line in her US TV series Quantico

While the controversial plotline caused fury in parts of India (above), Kochhar’s tweet was quickly seen as anti-Islam, caused global outrage and led to calls to boycott his restaurants

A poster on Twitter writing angrily about the Michelin-starred chefs comments and claiming Muslims’ lives are at risk 

On Wednesday, the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel – which is home to Kochhar’s Rang Mahal restaurant – terminated the Michelin-starred’s chefs contract. Pictured: Their comments on Monday

Kochhar accepted the ‘great pain’ he had caused to Muslims, but said his sacking was ‘deeply upsetting’. Pictured: A Twitter user attacking Kochhar and calling for a boycott 

On Wednesday, the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel – which is home to Kochhar’s Rang Mahal restaurant – terminated the Michelin-starred’s chefs contract.  

Kochhar accepted the ‘great pain’ he had caused to Muslims, but said his sacking was ‘deeply upsetting’.        

Talking to MailOnline yesterday, he said: ‘I am really, really sorry. It was a big, big, big mistake.

‘I don’t know what to do but apologise from my heart… I will also be contacting Priyanka to tell her I am sorry.’

Talking to the Mail Online, Kochhar said: ‘I am really, really sorry. It was a big, big, big mistake. ‘I don’t know what to do but apologise from my heart… I will also be contacting Priyanka (above) to tell her I am sorry’

The spat started when Priyanka, who attended the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan, apologised after an episode of her hit American TV series Quantico featured a storyline about a Hindu terrorist plot.

Priyanka, 35, who plays FBI agent Alex Parrish, was shown thwarting a terrorist plan and uncovering the plot was by Hindu nationalists who had tried to pass themselves off as Muslim fundamentalists.

The episode, screened in America on June 1 by ABC, caused a furore in India which led Chopra and the TV company to apologise on Twitter.

Priyanka, a Hindu, said : ‘I’m extremely saddened and sorry that some sentiments have been hurt by a recent episode of Quantico.

‘That was not and would never be my intention. I sincerely apologise. I’m a proud Indian and that will never change.’

But Kochhar, 48, who owns the Benares Restaurant in London’s Mayfair and has appeared on countless TV food shows, weighed into the dispute with a Tweet which has been widely slammed, forcing him to backtrack.

He responded to Chopra by saying that she should have been ashamed by her apology.

He wrote: ‘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.’

The spat started when Priyanka (second right), who attended the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan, apologised after an episode of her hit American TV series Quantico featured a storyline about a Hindu terrorist plot (above)

Priyanka, 35, who plays FBI agent Alex Parrish, was shown thwarting a terrorist plan and uncovering the plot was by Hindu nationalists who had tried to pass themselves off as Muslim fundamentalists (above)

Priyanka apologised for the hurt caused by the show and Chopra responded by saying that she should be ashamed by her apology. He wrote: ‘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 was seen as anti-Islamic and unleashed a huge backlash from Muslims amid calls that a restaurant he also owns in Dubai should be closed down.

The restaurant, Rang Mahal, is based at the JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai.

The hotel distanced itself from Kochhar’s remarks and said in a statement: ‘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.’

Many angry Muslims took to Twitter to slam Kochhar and some accused him of bigotry, with Muslim Halal suppliers saying they would no longer provide his restaurants with food.

One angry Muslim wrote: ‘I have cancelled my wedding anniversary meal for next month at your restaurant.

‘YOU knew exactly what you meant as YOU tweeted that message. Disgusted.’

Kochhar, realising the storm brewing against him, took to Twitter to apologise to his 55,000 followers.

He wrote: ‘There is no justification for my tweet, a major error made in the heat of the moment on Sunday.

His tweet to Priyanka (above at Prince Harry and Meghan’s weddin) was seen as anti-Islamic and unleashed a huge backlash from Muslims. The hotel linked to the restaurant distanced itself from the claims

Kochhar, realising the storm brewing against him, took to Twitter to apologised to his 55,000 followers and said a technical glitch had caused the offensive tweet. ‘I meant to say “invasion” and now Islam and it auto corrected.’ Pictured: Priyanka in May

‘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.’

When speaking to MailOnline he, said a technical glitch had caused the offensive tweet.

‘I meant to say “invasion” and now Islam and it auto corrected. It was about four to six hours later that I saw it and it was too late.

‘I am not anti Islamic and I was brought up as a Hindu with Muslims, Sikhs, Jains and I believe we are all equal.’

But leading Asian media commentator Sunny Hundal, who is based in London, tweeted to his 75,000 followers that Kochhar was being hypocritical.

He asked Kochhar: ‘What are you sorry about? Your views on Muslims?

‘You blame Muslims for victiming Hindus for 2000 years (apparently!). But you’re happy to make money off them in Dubai.

Leading Asian media commentator Sunny Hundal tweeted to his 75000 followers, that Kochhar was being hypocritical. He asked Kochhar: ‘You blame Muslims for victiming Hindus for 2000 years (apparently!). But you’re happy to make money off them in Dubai’

ABC Studios, producers of the hit TV series, defended Priyanka, who has faced street protests in India (above). A spokesman said: ‘The episode has stirred a lot of emotion, much of which is unfairly aimed at Priyanka Chopra, who didn’t create the show, nor does she write or direct it’

‘And you have no problems against the British, who killed more Hindus during the Raj?

‘Hypocritical isn’t it?’

ABC Studios, producers of the hit TV series, defended Priyanka, who has faced street protests in India.

A spokesman said: ‘The episode has stirred a lot of emotion, much of which is unfairly aimed at Priyanka Chopra, who didn’t create the show, nor does she write or direct it.

‘The show has featured antagonists of many different ethnicities and backgrounds, but in this case we inadvertently and regrettably stepped into a complex political issue. 

‘It was certainly not our intention to offend anyone.’ 

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