The inspiring story of how Salt Bae became one of the most famous chefs in the world
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Salt Bae has caused a stir recently over his behaviour at the World Cup, but how did a man whose 'thing' is sprinkling salt become so famous that he found his way on to the pitch in the first place?
Let's be honest, as far as cooking goes, sprinkling salt isn't exactly an innovative move. In fact, it's literally one of the most basic ingredients used to add flavour, and yet Nusret Gökçe has made an entire identity out of it.
Most people came to know the butcher the same way we come across most things nowadays: the internet.
In 2017, a video of Salt Bae pulling back his arm like a cobra and sprinkling seasoning over a steak went viral, resulting in GIFs, memes and countless recreations.
But before he became known across the globe as Salt Bae, Gökçe has described putting in the work from the age of 12, when he says he left school and began working as a butcher's apprentice to help out his family with money.
"I woke up at 6 o’clock, two hours on the train commute and 30 minutes after the train on the bus. Then all day long, standing and working. No day off and no vacation," the butcher told The Times in 2019.
He was born in August 1983 in a poverty-stricken suburb in Turkey, but managed to work his way up the industry over the years.
Gökçe told NBC in 2017 that he was 'always wishing and wishing to open up a restaurant', and after completing his military service at 20, he got a bank loan which he used to visit Argentina and learn more about the meat industry.
Throughout 2007 to 2010, he travelled across a number of countries to work in restaurants where he could gain experience, and when he was 27 years old, he opened his first restaurant in Istanbul.
Salt Bae went on to open branches in Ankara, Dubai and Doha, and though his dedication to the work was obviously paying off, it wasn't until 2017 that he really became known across the globe as the video of him with his steak earned him the title of the 'sexiest butcher on Instagram'.
He has since gone on to open more than 22 restaurants across the US, UK, Greece and Dubai and feed A-list guests including Leonardo DiCaprio and Usher, though the response to his food hasn't always been positive.
Reviews have criticised both the meat and the prices, and disapproval for Salt Bae only increased this week as he shared a series of photos of himself holding the World Cup - an honour usually reserved for former winners and heads of state.