The Lowdown: Salt Bae

By Stefan Chomka contact

- Last updated on GMT

Salt Bae is opening a steak restaurant in London Knightsbridge
The salt shaking chef is on his way to London with the launch of a Nusr-Et restaurant in Knightsbridge.

Sounds like a holiday destination
Not that kind of bay, but bae, the slang word for a girlfriend or boyfriend.

Oh right. Now I’m really confused
Stay with us. Salt Bae is the nickname of Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe, owner of the Nusr-Et chain of steak restaurants. Gökçe got his alter ego after posting an Instagram video of himself slicing steak in a rather flamboyant manner and then seasoning it in what has become his signature move by flicking his wrist and letting the salt bounce off his forearm onto the meat.

And?
That’s it. Despite the short video ostensibly showing a man cut up and season a piece of meat (as well as much of his arm) it - and indeed Salt Bae himself - has become an internet sensation. That video alone has received more than 600,000 likes and, inexplicably, more than 50,000 people have taken the time to comment on it. The long-haired, muscle-clad chef (he appears to be channeling Steven Seagal in Under Seige) now has almost 11 million Instagram followers, making him the most followed chef in the world (to put this into context Gordon Ramsay only has 3.8 million Instagram followers). Now people across the globe mimic his salty manoeuvre to ‘hilarious’ effect. Did we learn nothing from the ice bucket challenge?

It makes a change from cat videos...
At least cat videos have the decency to go away after a while, but Mr Bae isn’t going anywhere in the near future. A Nusr-Et opened in Miami last year and was quickly followed by one in New York. And yes, you’ve guessed it, London is next on the cards, with a restaurant set to open later this year at The Park Tower Knightsbridge Hotel.

So we get to see him shake his thing in real life then?
You sure do. And, by the sounds of it the main reason people visit his restaurants is to see old salty fingering their meat at the table. Gökçe famously doesn’t wear gloves for his showpiece performance, however, (they wouldn’t go with his trademark tight white tee, one assumes), causing some to consider how hygienic the practice actually is - Eater New York muses whether it falls foul of article 81 of the city’s health code that prohibits bare hand contact with food that is ‘ready to eat’.

I’ve lost my appetite
In that case maybe don’t go onto his Instagram page, where among the numerous selfies of himself with Diddy and him brandishing large knives that in ways you shouldn't in the kitchen, you’ll also see him doing a pretty bad Michael Jackson impression. It’s enough to put you off your lunch. 

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