The Untold Truth Of Salt Bae

It seems that in this day and age, the role of the celebrity chef with fame garnered from a weekly television show is no longer as prominent as it used to be (via The Guardian). Instead, chefs are rising to stardom thanks to social media platforms such as Instagram, which allows them to showcase their style and technique even if they don't have a television show of their own. One such chef is Salt Bae, born Nusret Gökçe.

Gökçe was born in Turkey, one of five children of a miner, and worked as an apprentice in a butcher's shop after dropping out of school at the age of five (via CNBC). He put in his time working at Turkish steakhouses and spent some time in the meat Mecca of Buenos Aires before opening his own restaurant in Istanbul, Nusr-et. The investment of a wealthy Gulf business owner allowed him to expand and open new locations, and even open up branches abroad.

The humble beginnings of Salt Bae

Though he'd been working in the food and beverage industry for decades, Salt Bae's Instagram posts were what made him a household name. Posts featuring his sultry massaging of huge cuts of meat and his trademark salt sprinkling maneuver were very well received. 

Part of Salt Bae's success is that he was able to create a brand for himself and capitalize on it with a restaurant empire: Tight white t-shirt, steampunk sunglasses, and the occasional cigar were commonly spotted in his Instagram posts. He had between 1 and 2 million followers in 2017 (via The Cut) and now boasts 27.4 million (via Instagram). His initial video clip, which went viral in 2017, was a 36-second video that garnered more than 6.3 million views during the first year it was posted. His physique and long black hair endeared a certain crowd as well. Needless to say, a combination of all these things sent him skyrocketing to fame in the food world. And yes, there are examples of Salt Bae without his trademark sunglasses on (via Instagram).

Since he sat up shop in his original Turkish restaurant locations, he has expanded to destinations around the world including Mykonos, Abu Dhabi, and Miami. He's even opened up a burger joint in Manhattan, although reviews are anything but glowing