Atul Kochhar, an Indian-origin chef, who usually faces the heat in the kitchen, perhaps didn't except things to go so bad when he accused Priyanka Chopra of not respecting the sentiments of Hindus. He definitely did not expect to get fired by Dubai’s JW Marriott Marquis Hotel.
Kocchar is quite a celebrity. He has served piping hot samosas and khichdi on a luxury cruise headed to freezing Antarctica, he has cooked personalised meals for Prince Charles, he has been invited to meet The Queen during the Indian President's official visit, he was also the first Indian chef to receive Michelin star-- not once but twice. Kochhar has been incremental in putting India on the global culinary map.
Perhaps, that's why he thought he could get away with an anti-Islam tweet?
Kochhar joined the long list of people who trolled and attacked actor Priyanka Chopra and ABC network over an episode of the TV series Quantico.
Chopra, on Sunday, issued an apology for hurting sentiments of Hindu, for an episode that showed "Indian nationalists" planning to carry out a terrorist attack in Manhattan and frame Pakistan for it days before a summit on Kashmir.
“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,” Chopra tweeted.
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. — PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) June 9, 2018
Kochhar decided to take a dig at Chopra's apology. "It's sad to see that you have not respected the sentiments of Hindus who have been terrorised by Islam over 2,000 years. Shame on You (sic)," he tweeted on Sunday.
However, after being faced with angry reactions, he deleted the tweet and put out an apology, saying the “major error” was “made in the heat of the moment on Sunday”. “There is no justification for my tweet ... 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,” he wrote.
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
The Islamophobic tweet created 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."
The chef and the restaurateur's communal and hateful comments towards Muslims resulted in the termination of his services at the award-winning Rang Mahal India restaurant he operated at Dubai’s JW Marriot Marquis Hotel.
"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, was quoted as saying by Gulf News.
Clearly, no one is happy with Kochhar.
In a statement, Halal Gems, a London-based halal restaurant finder app, said, "We are disappointed to see Chef Atul Kochhar’s message judging Islam to be ‘terrorising’, especially since his restaurants benefit from Muslim clientele and Muslim pound."
The statement also said that they will not be promoting any restaurants associated with Atul Kochhar.
As the brands were distancing themselves from the chef, angered Twitterati was trying to discover Kochhar's 'anti-Islam' tweets.
Further confirmation that Atul Kochhar is definitely an anti-Muslim bigot. pic.twitter.com/cZC1hBqzcI — Junaid (@ibrownlad) June 12, 2018
Twitter took a new turn when the "sanghis" on Twitter were reminded about Kochhar's beef recipes tweeted out by his restaurant after they came out in support of the chef.
Hi @atulkochhar if at all you lose your job for your views, do come over to India and setup an eatery restaurant, 5 star or whatever u wish to and I assure you frm my side, I will have food atleast once at ur place/month. Let's see how many here are willing this way. :) — Ashu😎 (@muglikar_) June 12, 2018
Fantastic bro! And while you're at it, don't forget to try chef Atul Kochhar's special beef recipes. pic.twitter.com/pJPMzUn8YW — Punster® (@Pun_Starr) June 13, 2018
"Hahaha Atul Kochhar tried teaching Priyanka Chopra how to be a good Hindu and now people are digging out proofs of his restaurant (called Benaras) serving beef," popular music-satire-comedy group Aisi Taisi Democracy tweeted.
Hahaha Atul Kochhar tried teaching Priyanka Chopra how to be a good Hindu and now people are digging out proofs of his restaurant (called Benaras) serving beef. pic.twitter.com/URRXk6jf1q — Aisi Taisi Democracy (@AisiTaisiDemo) June 12, 2018
On Tuesday, Kocchar tweeted again, this time he apologised unreservedly.