SaltBae Truth Behind Meme

Who Is #SaltBae? The Truth Behind The Meme

The internet sensation that is #SaltBae has been revealed to be Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe. Gökçe, who owns nine steakhouses across Turkey and the Middle East, came to the world’s attention when a video of him chopping and salting a steak in his unique style went viral, with the internet christening him Salt Bae.

Juicy???? #salt #saltbae

A video posted by nusr_et (@nusr_et) on

Gökçe is an active social media user, and often shares videos of himself preparing food and engaging with customers in his restaurants. The 34-year-old chef was tracked down by NBC recently, and spoke about his background and new-found celebrity status.

“I’m the happiest man in the world. So far, we’ve been the conversation. Everybody is doing the same move.”

The video that started it all has now amassed more than 10 million views. Aside from photos and videos of food, Gökçe shares snippets of his personal life with followers, including his rigorous fitness routine and jet-setting life style.

Ottoman steak ????

A video posted by nusr_et (@nusr_et) on

Gökçe also shares evidence of his encounters with celebrities. On his Instagram account are photos of the chef meeting Tommy Hilfiger, Roger Federer, and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Perhaps the most notable celebrity encounter came last week when it was reported that Leonardo DiCaprio ate at Gökçe’s Dubai restaurant.

According to Gökçe’s manager, Noyan Ersolmaz, DiCaprio was very impressed by the meeting, going on to say that Gökçe had performed a “cutting show” for the star and provided him with a personalized menu. The chef posted a photo of the interaction on Instagram on Thursday, which has so far gained over 700,000 likes.

2017 Oscar adayi sensin dedi#saltbae #saltlife #salt @leonardodicaprio

A photo posted by nusr_et (@nusr_et) on

NBC reports that life hasn’t always been so easy for the chef, with Gökçe explaining that he grew up in poverty, meaning that he had to drop out of school at age five and start working to help support his family.

“Since I was 14, I worked more than 13 hours a day as a kitchen runner for a butcher. My life hasn’t changed now. I still keep going to work from the morning until midnight.”

Give me 5 shots of tequila and I will like every single photo of your trip to Portugal with your mom from 86 weeks ago. (@donny.drama)

A photo posted by thefatjewish (@thefatjewish) on

Gökçe has always had the dream of owning restaurants, opening his first steakhouse in Istanbul with just eight tables when he was 27-years-old. Always looking to grow and improve, Gökçe says he then traveled the world to study how he could better run and expand his business.

“Without much money, I traveled to Argentina to see the meat industry and after that, I wanted to travel to the United States, but I was refused a visa five or six times, but I never gave up.”

Currently, Gökçe runs nine steakhouses throughout Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, with one soon to open in Saudi Arabia.

SaltBae Meme Leonardo Dicaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio famously dined at Nusret Gökçe’s Dubai restaurant. [Image by Brad Barket/ AP Images]

When asked to explain the reason for his restaurant’s popularity, prior to his internet fame, Gökçe says it starts with the way each meal is prepared, right down to his signature salting style.

“The shape of the meat and the taste of it starting from the top down is a part of me. All of my feelings are coming from inside of the meat down to when I put the salt onto the meat.”

"NUT"

A photo posted by Jessica Anteby (@beigecardigan) on

Next, the chef has his sights set on London, Berlin, and New York City. Gökçe says he will know he has “made it” when he opens in New York.

“It shows that I’m an international brand if I open up in New York. In New York, there are many steakhouses. We would like to show that Nusr-et is different than the others in service, meat quality and connection with the customers.”

[Featured image by J. Scott Applewhite/ AP Images]

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