Salt Bae: 9 Times The World's Most Outlandish Chef Captured Our Attention

Wherever Salt Bae goes, The Takeout will breathlessly follow.

Sometimes something is so thoroughly, utterly ludicrous that no comedic commentary is needed. Such is the carnival that exists around Nusret Gökçe, aka the Salt Bae: beloved meme, Instagram phenomenon, maestro of core strength, bachelor father of 13, winner of a pull-up contest with Dr. Oz, and the face of a global chain of obscenely expensive restaurants. Let's take a moment to remember some of the best Salt Bae moments in recent history, as chronicled by The Takeout. We are positive the list will be updated regularly with more (and possibly even better) shenanigans.


When a Florida man refused to pay for a gold-plated steak he didn’t order, Salt Bae called the cops

No matter the quality of the food, you are not going to a Salt Bae restaurant just to eat. You are going to be seen, take selfies, and tell the world that you're eating at the kind of establishment that attracts the sexiest of sexy people. You go to experience what happens when normal food is made classy. That's what Florida man Duane Miranda expected when he visited the Miami location of Mr. Bae's Nusr-Et steakhouse in late 2019. What he didn't expect was that all that classiness would land him a surprise four-figure bill and a brush with the police.


Miranda's table had ordered (among many other things) two Tomahawk ribeyes and a rack of lamb, which should only have amounted to a few hundred dollars. But the bill for these items was $3,000 because Nusr-Et insisted the table had ordered them "golden"—that is, the meats were covered in a layer of 24-karat gold. When Miranda refused to pay for the golden upgrades, the restaurant called the cops. Check out Miranda's scathing Yelp review recounting the experience, and read more about the whole debacle here.

Salt Bae’s lawyer apologizes for just how popular Salt Bae is

Seven short days after Salt Bae opened his first Boston steakhouse in September 2020, the Boston Licensing Board and Inspectional Services Department shut it down for multiple health and safety violations. Most were nothing extraordinary: there were equipment issues, like dishwashers missing thermometers; paperwork snafus, like a missing health permit; and no printed proof of a full-time, on-site food protection manager. But some of the charges were more concerning, like blocked fire exits and a flagrant disregard of Boston's COVID-19 safety guidelines during a peak month of the pandemic.


After the closure of Nusr-Et Boston, a lawyer representing Mr. Gökçe (aka Bae) issued profuse apologies for the whole ordeal. He implied that the restaurant had violated social distancing guidelines not due to carelessness, but because Salt Bae is so damn popular that the good people of Boston could not bring themselves to stay away. As defenses go, it's worth a try, right? Read more about Salt Bae's adventures in Beantown here.

Salt Bae spent much of 2020 violating COVID-19 safety guidelines

Following the brouhaha in Boston, Salt Bae brought the Nusr-Et steakhouse experience to Dallas and Beverly Hills in early 2021, celebrating their respective grand openings by ignoring seemingly every single COVID-19 regulation on the books. In Dallas, thousands of maskless diners were seen partying in close quarters with the Big Bae himself, but their tables were spaced six feet apart, so points for trying.


Things were a little tamer in the 90210, because unlike Dallas and Boston, where thousands of hungry fans swarmed Mr. Bae like moths to a flame, the denizens of Beverly Hills evidently are not all that impressed by Salt Bae or his meat. Still, even with a smaller crowd, Mr. Bae went out of his way to flout all sorts of Los Angeles County public health protocols, because danger is his middle name. Click to read more about Salt Bae doing Dallas and going Hollywood.

Salt Bae’s Instagram was cited for indecent exposure

Back in 2019, Salt Bae and his Nusr-Et restaurant group purchased the Park Hyatt Hotel in Istanbul for a cool $80 million. Promoting the hotel on his stupendously popular Instagram account (38.7 million followers and counting), Mr. Bae posted video footage of himself enjoying some of the hotel's many amenities, including its elegantly decorated guest rooms, a luxurious poolside area, and stunning views of the Istanbul skyline. The video also allegedly promoted his own amenities for a fleeting moment when a bathrobe-clad Salt Bae gleefully leapt into a bed, briefly exposing his nether-parts.


An unnamed Turkish citizen turned to authorities to file a complaint citing distress over (allegedly) seeing Salt Bae's sausage, stating that the video "damaged public morals." This led Turkish prosecutors to launch what we're sure is the first of many investigations into Salt Bae's anatomy. Click here to read more.

Salt Bae gives the women what they want: a teeny pink veggie burger

Wherever Salt Bae goes, the ladies are sure to follow. That's probably why, when opening the first U.S. location of Nusr-Et Burger in the heart of New York City, Mr. Bae crafted a very special beefless burger just for broads. Served on a pink bun, the veggie burger was notably smaller than the beefier, manly burgers on the menu and was intended to "compliment the ladies." The general manager of Nusr-Et's U.S. operations helpfully clarified to Eater that the burger was free of charge and could also function as an appetizer. How... considerate? Click to read more about Salt Bae's special ladyburgers.


Salt Bae plasters mural of himself across the world, gets sued for copyright infringement

Bae & Friends are seemingly unable to open a restaurant without being dragged to court. They were sued for wage theft in Miami, where they emerged victorious, and also in New York, where they quietly settled last July. In Dallas they're facing two lawsuits from a contractor claiming he was never paid for his services. And then there's the case of Brooklyn-based artist William Hicks, who filed a $5 million lawsuit against Mr. Bae, claiming the steak salesman printed Hicks' artwork on menus, takeout bags, and signs at overseas outposts of Nusr-Et Steakhouse without permission.


Hicks had originally been commissioned to design a mural of "The Bae" in his iconic bicep-bulging, salt-sprinkling pose for the steakhouse's Miami outpost, followed by paid commissions for Nusr-Et restaurants in New York, Dubai, and Istanbul. After the four murals were completed, unauthorized copies of the murals were made for restaurants in Turkey, Greece, and the United Arab Emirates without compensating Hicks for further use of his copyrighted design. Click here to learn more about Salt Bae Muralgate.

Salt Bae got the SNL treatment—but it was cut for time

Despite having the sort of schtick that reads more "improv character" than "actual human being," Salt Bae had somehow never been lampooned on Saturday Night Live until this year. An attempt was made to capture his magic this past April when actor Daniel Kaluuya hosted the venerable variety show, but alas, the hilarious sketch was cut for time. Thankfully SNL posts its cut-for-time sketches on YouTube so we can still experience the thrill of Beck Bennett and Mikey Day on either end of a gold-plated tomahawk ribeye. Watch a man dressed as Salt Bae do unthinkable things to a tomahawk steak here.


Salt Bae causes customer to get salty with a $50,000 restaurant bill

It happens to the best of us, doesn't it? You head into a buzzy steakhouse for a meal with your friends and end up paying a bill larger than the down payment on a house. This was the fate of a group of diners who recently headed to Nusr-Et in London and ordered more than $50,000 worth of food and drinks. Emphasis on the drinks, because the food—including Salt Bae's iconic gold-covered steak—only ended up totaling around $2,100 (a steal!). The bottles of wine, meanwhile, cost as much as $13,690 each. And there were lots of bottles. One of the members of the party posted the receipt for the meal to Snapchat, where the jokes began to flow like $10,000 wine. Read all about the restaurant bill from hell here.


Salt Bae charges $1,000 for steak but pays chef $16 per hour

Restaurant work is difficult, demanding, and draining. It's a hard job no matter which kitchen you're in—but surely a place as glitzy as Salt Bae's London steakhouse could at least afford to set up its chef de partie with a comfortably livable wage? Nope. Turns out that a recent job listing for the position noted that it pays just £12.00 – £13.50 per hour, or $16.40 – $18.45. Mind you, this role would oversee an entire section of the restaurant, and would likely involve some management duties over other chefs. Given that one order of mashed potatoes at this place costs about $16, we think Salt Bae could do slightly better, don't you? Read more about the ill-received job listing here.