Turkish celebrity chef and internet sensation, "Salt Bae", is to open a new restaurant in the Israeli capital, Tel Aviv, according to an announcement on his Instagram account. The social media personality, real name Nusret Gokce, listed the city among others for future locations of his chain of eateries, Nusr-Et.
Among the cities mentioned were Paris, Ibiza, Madrid, Milan, Sao Paolo, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and Cairo. Gokce already owns several of the notoriously expensive restaurants in locations around the world, including Turkiye where it first opened its doors in 2010, in addition to chains in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar.
Israel's i24 News reported that the location of the new restaurant will be in the ToHa Tower in eastern Tel Aviv. Reacting to the news, Palestinian human rights activist and co-founder of the BDS movement, Omar Barghouti, was quoted by Doha News as saying "The reported plan to open a Nusr-Et restaurant branch in apartheid Tel Aviv, particularly under the current unmasked fascist and Islamophobic Israeli government, would drastically tarnish the reputation of the famous Turkish chef."
Gokce rose to fame in 2017 after a video of him sprinkling salt on a steak went viral on social media. The clip quickly gained millions of views and led to the creation of many memes and parodies, making Salt Bae a household name. He recently received criticism after appearing to gate-crash Argentina's World Cup victory celebrations after the final in Qatar and taking selfies with players and lifting the trophy. According to FIFA, his access to the pitch was unauthorised.