Lonely Planet Writer

Internet sensation #SaltBae is expanding his restaurant chain to London and New York

A flamboyant Turkish chef who became an internet sensation has revealed that he plans to expand his restaurant empire to London and New York.

A video posted by nusr_et (@nusr_et) on Jan 7, 2017 at 2:44am PST

An Instagram video of Nusret Gökçe – also known as #SaltBae – cutting and salting meat with a huge butcher’s knife went viral and has had 7.9 million views. Gökçe is the co-owner of six branches of the Nusr-Et steakhouse chain in Turkey and another in Dubai, but on the back of his newfound fame he plans to take the business further afield. He told Hürriyet Daily News that his ambition is to become the “world’s greatest butcher”. He explained that although he doesn’t speak any languages other than Turkish, he can “communicate with people through meat”.

Chef Nusret Gökçe
Chef Nusret Gökçe Image by Saltbae on Facebook

Gökçe also explained the most famous segment of the video, the sassy salt-drizzle at the end: “actually that move at the end came automatically. I did not do that to show off. It is just my signature. You can think of it a kind of final touch for a painting. It was a final touch to the meat; I was blessing the meat”.

He said that “telling stories and drawing people’s attention” are key to achieving success. “People see me as uncouth. I am the son of a mine worker. My father and mother do not know literacy. I [could not] go to school due to financial difficulties. I started to working at a butcher as an apprentice when I was 14. Meat has become a passion for me,” he added. Gökçe said that he does not work with any PR teams and that all his videos are taken by staff at his restaurants.