Social media sensation chef “Salt Bae” has been handed a $5,800 fine for threatening to kill one of his former employees, the Daily Mail reported.
Turkish celebrity chef Salt Bae, whose real name is Nusret Gökçe, verbally assaulted Ali İhsan Kandil after he seated female customers at the same table as men at one of Gökçe’s restaurants, the name of which has not been revealed.
Gökçe became enraged at Kandil seating the women with the men and shouted at him: “Did you sit the women there you pimp, are you selling women in my restaurant? I will kill you, f*** off, I am firing you.”
The incident occurred in 2015, after which former chef Kandil filed a suit against Gökçe.
The İstanbul 23rd Penal Court of First Instance found in his favor, punishing Gökçe with a fine of 35,000 Turkish lira ($5,800) for verbal assault.
Gökçe owns a chain of Nusr-Et restaurants and is known as Salt Bae for his theatrical, cobra-like style of sprinkling salt on his steaks.
He went viral in 2017 after posting videos of himself salting meat and now has more than 21 million Instagram followers. His restaurants in the Middle East, New York and Miami charge several hundred dollars for some cuts of meat.
However, this is not the first time he has been caught up in controversy since shooting to fame.
In September four tourists were seriously injured, some suffering severe burns, after a flame show went wrong at Gökçe’s Nusret Etiler Steakhouse in Istanbul.
The same restaurant had hit the headlines just a week before, after a visit from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro sparked fury in his impoverished homeland, where there are widespread shortages of food and medicine.
Maduro was lavished with a gourmet steak lunch and cigars in Istanbul during a two-hour stop-off.