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Who is Salt Bae and Real Name?

Nusret Gökçe is better known by his nickname Salt Bae.

Born in 1983, Salt Bae is a Turkish butcher, chef, food entertainer and restaurateur.

He was originally born in Erzurum to a Kurdish family - his father Faik, who was a mineworker and his mother Fatma.

However, during his time in the sixth grade, he was forced to leave school and work as a butcher's apprentice in Istanbul - due to the family's struggle with finances.

Salt Bae Childhood: Grew Up In Poverty

Salt Bae is on top of the world now, but it hasn’t always been this way. He seems to be very humble and keeps all the fame in perspective. It’s a lot easier to have perspective when you come from his background. Growing up in a poorer Turkish family that worked very hard, he learned his amazing work ethic at a very young age.

He’s obviously learned quite a bit from his family and got enough of an education at home to get to be who he is today. Salt Bae began working long, hard hours in restaurants doing menial jobs since he was 14 years old. These long hours haven’t slacked any as he’s grown into a restaurant mogul, as he keeps pretty much the same working hours he’s had all his life.

Personal Life: Who is Salt Bae's Wife?

He keeps his personal life private. So we don’t have much information about his dating life or his wife.

Many tabloids claim that Salt Bae is not attached to anyone at the moment. The 39 year old chef is mostly seen around female diners but he has not made any revelations about his love life.

He seems to be more concentrated on his craft than venturing into a relationship. However, it could be possible that the chef is seeing someone but prefers to keep it away from the spotlight.

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Salt Bae May Have Nine Children?

You read that right... Salt Bae is apparently a lover of children. With nine kids pictured with him, there’s no doubt that he’ll be leaving quite a legacy behind one day. It’s not exactly clear if all the kids pictured with him are his, but the caption in his posted photo references the importance of spending time with family.

As of 2010, Salt Bae was not married according to an interview he gave, but it’s unclear what his marital status is these days. One would think that there would be tons of information available about him and his family, but he is about as mysterious in real life as he seems to be in his viral videos. Perhaps all these are his children, but it’s clear that he values family and there are lots of children in his life.

How did he earn nickname “Salt Bae”?

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He earned the nickname “Salt Bae” for his unusual method of salting food, dropping it from his fingertips to his forearm and then onto the dish after the Instagram post received 10 million views. As a result of the post’s viral exposure, Salt Bae fame has significantly increased, and he has worked with numerous international politicians and celebrities.

The Salting Move Symbolizes Something “Extra”

To Salt Bae himself, his signature move may just be his way of showing his passion and general respect for the process of cooking and serving meat, but to the rest of the world, it signals so much more! The Salt Bae move has come to signal the “extra” that comes after a job well done. It’s the cherry on top of a delicious ice cream sundae.

The move has been replicated by all kinds of people including professional athletes and even fighter pilots! This is both entertaining and flattering for Salt Bae himself who has recently acknowledged how many people have adopted the move and made it their own. He’ll keep doing his move, because after all, it is his way of expressing the finishing touches on a culinary masterpiece!

How did Salt Bae Start his Career?

He Started His Career As A Butcher

These days Salt Bae is known for being a chef and a restaurant owner, but he actually started out as a butcher. During an interview with GQ Salt Bae said, “I needed a job to help my family growing up in Turkey. So I became a butcher. And I loved it. So here we are.​”

Started Out As A Dishwasher

No one can say that Salt Bae has had everything handed to him on a silver platter. It’s been quite the opposite in fact. Starting as a young teenager, he began working as a dishwasher and doing other menial jobs in restaurants out of necessity. Most people would hate doing such work, but not Salt Bae. He knew that he loved food and wanted to surround himself with the restaurant atmosphere and so began a labor of love. Salt Bae dreamed of owning his own restaurant and wanted nothing more than to share his talent for cooking with the world. Considering that he’s now a viral sensation, I think he’s made his dream come true and then some! It does make you wonder if he washed dishes with the same flare as his salting technique?

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How did Salt Bae Become Famous?

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Gökçe became famous from a series of viral Internet videos and memes.

His fame came from a viral video, "Ottoman Steak", posted on 7 January 2017.

The video shows him cutting meat and sprinkling salt on it in a "suavely" way.

The video received more than 10 million views on Instagram, and it was at that moment he was nicknamed "Salt Bae" because of his certain way of salting meat.

And that name has stuck ever since.

The Restaurant Nusret has been around for 9-10 years, but has not always been as popular and successful. The popularity started after he actively started using social media. In early 2017, he began using Instagram to post short videos in which he almost "played with the flesh." Some thought it was almost vulgar, while others thought he was funny and interesting.

You can watch one of the first videos he posted here. In this video, he cuts the meat finely into strips and sprinkles salt on the meat in his own way. That is precisely where the word Salt Bae comes from.

There’s A Reason For His Seasoning Technique

If you’ve ever seen Salt Bae’s interesting technique you’ve probably wondered where it came from. While talking to the New York Post he explained, “I wanted it to look like salt was coming from the sky. It was my golden touch.” At this point it’s safe to say that he accomplished his goal and then some.

Leonardo DiCaprio Ate At His Restaurant

One of the cool side effects from being a meme is that you get a lot of attention. Not only was he already well known in the Middle East, now people from the Western world are taking the opportunity to sample Salt Bae’s fare. Case in point, Academy Award winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio, decided to try the food at Nusr-Et.

This is a huge testimony to the quality of meat and farming techniques Salt Bae uses since DiCaprio is very much against mainstream agricultural practices used in most of the world. In photos shared where Salt Bae himself was seasoning the meal for Leo, he seems to be absolutely amazed and entranced by this mysterious and sultry chef. He must have been prepared for a tasty treat with the toothpick already in his mouth ready for the aftermath of his meal!

His recent 'fame'
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In 2022 he caused outrage with his antics at the football World Cup final in Qatar.

The internet was up in arms after the influencer was captured appearing to pester members of Argentina's winning team to pose for pictures and videos with him moments after their momentous victory.

It was later reported that Gokçe was banned from attending a US sporting event following his behaviour at the World Cup final.

What is Salt Bae's Net Worth?

Gökçe opened his first Nusr-Et steakhouse in Istanbul in 2010.

The brand grew, and he opened restaurants across the Middle East, including in Ankara, Doha and Dubai.

It was then that Gökçe shot to viral internet fame - and it allowed him to open a total of 13 restaurants within the year, expanding into America and Greece.

In 2021, he opened the first London Branch of the chain in the posh area of Knightsbridge, bringing the number of restaurants worldwide to an impressive 15.

However, a meal at one of his establishments will cost you!

Due to the success of the chain (and the high prices), it's now estimated that Salt Bae's net worth as of 2021 was a staggering $60million (£44million).

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