Atul Kochhar will no longer be working at the Mayfair-based restaurant Benares

The  Staff Canteen

Further to the JW Marriott Marquis hotel Dubai terminating its contract with Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar, it has been revealed today that he will no longer be working at the Mayfair-based restaurant Benares either. 

Further to the JW Marriott Marquis hotel in Dubai terminating the contract of Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar back in June, it has been confirmed today in a statement to Eater London, that he has also parted ways with the Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Benares.

It has not been confirmed if Atul was relieved of his position or has left of his own accord, but the Mayfair-based restaurant has released a statement saying: “Atul Kochhar is no longer the chef-patron of Benares Restaurant in Mayfair, London. The kitchen at Benares will continue to be led by Executive Chef Brinder Narula, who has been with the company for over three years. Chef Narula originally taught Atul at the Oberoi culinary school in India in the early 1990s.”

Atul contract with the JW Marriott Marquis hotel was terminated in June further to the chef posting a series of anti-Islamic tweets.

The tweet was a response to actress Priyanka Chopra who apologised for a recent episode of US television show Quantico, which featured a storyline of a terrorist plot by a group of Hindu nationalists. Priyanka wrote:

Atul replied: “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.”

After many users responded with outrage, Atul deleted the tweet the next day and made a public apology from his account, in which he said: “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.”

Following the status, many threatened to boycott his Rang Mahal restaurant at the JW Marriott Marquis. Atul made another public apology from his account on Tuesday evening, in which he asked for forgiveness and called his recent tweets “insensitive and wrong”.

In a statement made by the JW Marriott on Wednesday afternoon, the hotel announced that they would be terminating their contract with Atul and said:

“…We pride ourselves on creating a culture of diversity and inclusion for our guests and associates across the hotel and our restaurants.”

Atul was reported in The Guardian to have said: “The decision by JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is deeply upsetting, however I fully accept the great pain I have caused and the difficult position the hotel has been put in.

He added: “I have great respect for JW Marriott and in particular their staff in Dubai and wish the hotel well for the future. I hope my friends and well-wishers in Dubai will forgive me and continue to support me in the future.”

Atul was the first Indian chef in the UK to receive a Michelin star back in 2001 as head chef at Tamarind. He left the following year and opened his own restaurant Beneres in Mayfair in 2003.  Atul now owns restaurants in Ireland, Kent, Amersham and Spain. He also recently appeared on BBC Two's Million Pound Menu, where he invested in Ruth Hansom and Emily Lambert's restaurant, Epoch.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 8th August 2018

Atul Kochhar will no longer be working at the Mayfair-based restaurant Benares