Salt Bae

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Salt Bae
Salt Bae.png
Gökçe in 2018
Born
Nusret Gökçe

NationalityTurkish
OccupationRestaurateur

Nusret Gökçe ([nusˈɾet ɟøcˈtʃe]), nicknamed Salt Bae, is a Turkish butcher, chef,[1] and restaurateur, who owns Nusr-Et,[2][3] a chain of steak houses. His technique for preparing and seasoning meat became an Internet meme.[2][4][5]

Personal life[edit]

Gökçe was born in Erzurum, Turkey, to a Kurdish family.[6][7] His father was a mineworker. The family's finances forced him to leave school in the 6th grade to work as a butcher's apprentice in the Kadıköy district of Istanbul.[8]

Gökçe has been heavily involved with charitable work, such as building a school in his hometown of Erzurum.[9]

Salt Bae[edit]

A clip from the viral video.

Gökçe became more widely known through a series of viral Internet videos and memes from January 2017 which show him "suavely" cutting meat and sprinkling salt.[2]

His fame came from a viral video, "Ottoman Steak", posted on 7 January 2017 on his restaurant's Twitter account.[10] It was viewed 10 million times on Instagram, after which he was dubbed "Salt Bae" because of his peculiar way of sprinkling salt: dropping it from his fingertips to his forearm, and then falling onto the dish.[2] Due to the viral exposure gained from this post, Gökçe's profile has expanded enormously and he has served a wide range of celebrities and politicians from around the world.[11][4]

Restaurants[edit]

Gökçe visited several countries including Argentina and the United States between 2007 and 2010, where he worked in local restaurants for free, in order to gain experience as a cook and a restaurateur.[8] After his return to Turkey, Gökçe opened his first restaurant in Istanbul in 2010[12] and later opened a Dubai restaurant in 2014.[13]

The dishes served at Gökçe's establishments have received mixed reviews and have been described as "overpriced".[11][14] Early professional reviews in 2018 of his New York City steakhouse were generally negative.[15][16] The New York Post's Steve Cuozzo called the restaurant "Public Rip-off No. 1" and Joshua David Stein writing in GQ called the steak mundane and the hamburgers overcooked.[15] However, from an entertainment standpoint, reviews were more positive.[17] Eater's Robert Sietsema states, "If you are intent on judging New York's new branch of Nusr-Et only as a steakhouse, you'll probably be disappointed ... If, on the other hand, you appraise the place as dinner theater, you will find it satisfying—but only if Salt Bae is in the house".[17]

In December 2017, he received criticism for a 2016 photo posing in front of an image of Fidel Castro.[18][1]

In September 2018, Gökçe was criticized by Marco Rubio and Miami city council after Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro dined at Gökçe's Istanbul restaurant, with Rubio calling Gökçe a "weirdo".[19][20]

As of 2020, Nusr-Et has branches in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates; Doha in Qatar; Ankara, Bodrum, Istanbul and Marmaris in Turkey; Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Mykonos in Greece; Miami,New York and Boston in the US.[2]

In November 2019, four of Gökçe's former employees accused him of getting a share of their tips. They added that they were fired from his New York restaurant when they tried to ask questions about the tips. A trial was set to take place to investigate the issue, before which Gökçe reached a settlement with his former employees and paid them $230,000. As to why he had fired them, he said: "I was not satisfied with the performance of the four employees. ... Since they were fired, they acted with the feeling of ‘look, what we are going to do to you’ and put forward these tip allegations."[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Frias, Carlos (3 December 2017). "'Salt Bae' caught posing as Fidel Castro — and he just opened a Miami restaurant". The Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 22 September 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Who the Hell is Salt Bae?". TheWrap. 6 February 2017. Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  3. ^ "Nicolás Maduro desata críticas por comer en lujoso restaurante de Salt Bae en Estambul" (in Spanish). CNN en Español. 18 September 2018. Archived from the original on 18 September 2018. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b Tsuji, Alysha (14 February 2017). "Simone Biles happily had food seasoned by 'the one and only' Salt Bae at Laureus Awards". USA Today. Archived from the original on 1 April 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  5. ^ Miller, Jenni. "Everything You Need to Know About #SaltBae". The Cut. Archived from the original on 28 April 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Rudaw, Nusret'in ailesiyle röportaj yaptı". Ensonhaber.com. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Meşhur Nusret Kürt çıktı!". Rudaw.net. Archived from the original on 29 October 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Nusret hayat hikayesi". Aksam.com.tr. Archived from the original on 17 February 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Nusret Gökçe, külliyeden sonra şimdi de okul yaptırıyor köyüne". Posta.com.tr. Archived from the original on 23 January 2019. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Instagram post by Nusr_et#Saltbae • Jan 7, 2017 at 10:44am UTC". Instagram. Archived from the original on 17 April 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  11. ^ a b Del Valle, Gaby (20 September 2018). "Why is Marco Rubio tweeting about Salt Bae?". Vox. Archived from the original on 3 October 2018. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Nusret Gökçe kimdir?". Hurriyet.com.tr. Archived from the original on 20 March 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Nusret restaurant to open at Four Seasons Dubai - What's On". What's On Dubai. 11 November 2014. Archived from the original on 6 April 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  14. ^ Salt Bae Could Be Planting His Second NYC Restaurant Near Union Square Archived 19 December 2018 at the Wayback Machine Carla Vianna, Eater, 18 December 2018
  15. ^ a b Salt Bae Officially Goes Too Far Archived 30 June 2018 at the Wayback Machine Clint Rainey, 25 January 2018
  16. ^ "Reviews Trash Salt Bae's New Restaurant, Calls His Food 'Bland and Boring'" Archived 28 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine Complex, Sajae Elder, 26 January 2018
  17. ^ a b Burton, Monica (6 February 2018). "What the Critics Are Saying About Salt Bae's NYC Restaurant". Eater. Archived from the original on 4 October 2018. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  18. ^ "'Salt Bae' restaurateur slammed for Fidel Castro impersonation photo" Archived 6 December 2017 at the Wayback Machine Michael Bartiromo, Fox News, 12 May 2017
  19. ^ Haag, Matthew (18 September 2018). "Salt Bae Serves Maduro as Venezuela Suffers". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 3 October 2018. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  20. ^ "'It's a disgrace:' Miami lawmakers condemn 'Salt Bae' over serving Venezuela's Maduro". The Miami Herald. 27 September 2018. Archived from the original on 3 October 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  21. ^ "'Salt bae' denies accusation of taking share of employees' tips". Hürriyet Daily News. Istanbul. 12 November 2019. Retrieved 12 November 2019.

External links[edit]