Some of you have probably seen Rihanna and Ben Afflect in a T-shirt with print of a man sprinkling salt and brains. Someone may have also stumbled upon his near-borderline videos on Instagram. This time we will delve into the history behind the famous Salt Bae. It is a story about the small local butcher who has since got a chain of restaurants called Nusr-ET (Nusr meat). Whether this is a coincidence the word flesh is included in his name is not known.
Salt's Bae's past
Nusret Gökce, which is his original name, was born in 1984 in Turkey. He had to leave school in the 6th grade, as the family had a hard time sending him to school financially. He started his career as an apprentice at a butcher and worked long hours a day. He then got a job in a butcher's restaurant and got a zest for going out into the world developing himself.
The first country he visited was Argentina, where he began to learn about the industry. This involved working in a restaurant, in a butcher, as well as on several farms. Subsequently, he returned to Turkey and started working again at his old workplace. Here he had ample opportunity to experiment with the techniques he had learned in Argentina.
To develop further, Nusret subsequently went to New York and began working in a restaurant. Here he stayed for 3 months. The reason it was only 3 months was that he had only been granted a visa for 3 months. When he returned, he received an offer from one of his acquaintances named Mithat Erdem. Nusret promised that he would achieve great success and it would be a good investment. He promised Mithat Erdem that he would be so successful that Mithat Erdem would have to buy a money counter.
"I'm going to buy you a note counter" (Nusret)
He got the chance to open his own restaurant and achieved great success. His first restaurant he opened in 2009, and at that time he only had 10 tables and 10 employees, now he has 13 restaurants and 1000 employees.
After success in this restaurant, Nusret got a big investor on the hook. The company Dogus Holding chose to invest in his company. The first restaurant he worked for ("Günaydin Et") was owned by Dogus Holding, which meant that they would now invest in his restaurant.
The restaurant Nusret has existed 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 started using Instagram to post short videos where 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 finely cuts the meat into strips and sprinkles salt on the meat in his very own way. This is precisely where the word Salt Bae comes from.
The way to sprinkle salt became iconic and special. He attracted so much attention that several celebrities noticed him. Rihanna and Ben Affleck have worn his T-shirt, and James Corden has even mentioned him on his The Late Show. Leonardo DiCaprio visited his restaurant and Nusret posted on his Instagram that he Leonardo Dicaprio had said the following:
Selling an experience not food
Nusret went from having a small restaurant in 2009 to having 9 restaurants in Turkey, 1 in Dubai, 1 in Abu Dhabi, 1 in Qatar, 1 Miami, 1 in New York and one on the way in London.
What made the whole situation special was that in addition to serving delicious food, he also sold an experience. People spent/spend tons of money to experience him, and his waiters present and serve the food in a unique way.
Sure, it was a bit of a mix between luck and good contacts that Nusret became so popular, but it wasn't just this. First, he was outreach and courageous. He went out into the world without knowing a single foreign language and only had about 8000 kr on him. He may not have been educated, but he had the zest to learn and develop himself. He invested first of all in himself. He worked 18 hours a day and fought hard to get where he is now. In addition, he used social media to his own advantage.
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