Atul Kochhar, the chef-patron of Michelin-starred Mayfair Indian restaurant Benares is no longer employed by the company.
The chef, who in June was relieved of his duties of the Dubai-based JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, following a number of anti-Islamic tweets directed at the actress Priyanka Chopra, is understood to have been sacked by his London employer this week.
Eater has been issued with the following official statement from the restaurant. The restaurant will continue to be overseen by the current executive head chef and one time mentor of Kochhar, Brinder Narula.
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.
Prior to Benares [Narula] co-led the brigade at the Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Gymkhana in London and at Oberoi, India’s leading luxury hotel group.
(Narula was one of two head chefs at Gymkhana for a period of nine months.)
Asked whether Kochhar was sacked, if he left of his own accord, or if his departure was by mutual consent, the spokesperson for the restaurant did not immediately respond.
Kochhar tweeted in June: “It’s sad to see that you have not respected the sentiments of Hindus who have been terrorised by Islam for over 2000 years. Shame on You.” The tweet was directed at Chopra’s role in US television series Quantico, in which a fictitious terror plot involving Hindu nationalists was foiled by her character, Alex Parrish.
Benares did not give a statement immediately following the tweet, other than to say, “there is no further comment and currently his businesses are not effected [sic].” As JW Marriott acted swiftly, the restaurant was the subject of a number of angry tweets in reaction to the outburst:
I sure hope Benares Restaurant is not terrorised by all its Muslim customers. I'll make sure I take the longer walk around Berkeley Square and avoid your shop-front. Don't want you to feel threatened by a 5.2 Muslim woman xx— Halima Nawaz (@halimanawaz786) June 11, 2018