Former Nusret employee claims SaltBae told staff in empty restaurant to queue outside and pose as customers
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Former employees of Nusret Gökçe, otherwise known as Salt Bae, have made a number of lawsuits against the meme-famous chef for alleged incidents in his restaurants.
Among the claims is the allegation that during a particularly quiet lunchtime shift at his London restaurant members of staff were ordered to pretend to queue outside to make it look as though the place was busier.
According to Insider, Salt Bae is facing seven lawsuits in two cities, with the publication saying they spoke to nine former employees from six of his restaurants scattered around the world who criticised him.
All of the former employees wished to remain anonymous as they alleged having to contend with wage theft, discrimination, workplace violations and 'a testosterone-saturated culture of fear'.
A former bartender at his London restaurant said the place may have looked 'gold from the outside' but they were really 's**t from the inside'.
Gökçe's former employees said the celebrity chef played favourites and could fire people unpredictably, with the former London bartender saying it was like The Hunger Games working there as staff didn't know whether they'd be fired before their shift was over.
Another employee who worked at his Mykonos restaurant compared SaltBae to a dictator, while a former host at the London restaurant says she was told by a friend in the hospitality industry not to take the job.
She said you were 'ready to get fired' working there and claimed it was 'very uncomfortable to be around' the man from the memes, also alleging that two months after opening day only about half the staff hired were still working there.
She claimed that one colleague was fired for accidentally breaking a glass in the presence of Gökçe, while someone else was not hired because the chef 'didn't like his shirt'.
The former host claimed if SaltBae didn't like you 'you're done, no notice period, nothing', while former employees who worked for his restaurants in Mykonos and Dubai claim he asked staff for massages.
The ex staff member from Dubai also alleged that Gökçe would fall asleep on the tables if he was tired and workers didn't know if they were allowed to go home until he woke up.
A former employee from the Miami restaurant also alleged that the women on staff were 'not really respected' and said that some of her female colleagues were made to dress like they were 'going to the club'.
Insider reports that several of the people they spoke to made claims of discrimination, with staff claiming that Turkish employees were not punished for their mistakes in the same way as other workers.
Staff also said that despite the flashy exterior the restaurants were actually 'cheap as hell' from the cutlery to the uniforms, while there were also allegations that wine left over from bottles ordered by tables was resold in glasses.
"The allegations are really nothing more than a re-hash of old lawsuits where the claims were disputed and have long since been settled." Christy Reuter, a lawyer representing Gökçe told Insider.
"Unfortunately, high profile restaurants and popular chefs are often targets for salacious and meritless claims."
"Nusret is no different. Nusret employs more than a thousand employees around the world — it is a shame that a few old lawsuits and some unflattering remarks should overshadow the tremendous amount of effort that goes into maintaining a global restaurant workforce, particularly through COVID, or the contributions made by Chef Nusret in creating a mobile kitchen to provide over 6,000 hot meals to victims of the tragic earthquakes."
LADbible has contacted Nusret Gökçe for comment.